Chapter 25: Divorce (2)

Tao Xinhe sat in the Gu House carriage and felt that the usually steady road was bumpy to the point of dizziness.

The coachman in coir raincoat and bamboo hat focused on the slippery road, not daring to urge the horse at all, and kept silent. She was the only one in the carriage, and did not bring the original maids of the Gu Mansion with her.

For some reason, Qingfang didn’t return to the mansion, and she couldn’t care less about it, and won’t talk about it later.

The interior of the carriage was spacious and closed, and she felt physically and mentally exhausted. She couldn’t hold on anymore. She looked at the closed doors and the tight curtains, and repeatedly told herself that no one saw her embarrassment. She finally slipped a little bit, softly laid on her side, on top of the carriage board.

Her whole body was leaning against her back, and she could feel the steady pulsation of the horses pulling the cart, which contrasted with her rapid heartbeat. Tao Xinhe struggled to raise her hand, like lifting a thousand pounds, stopping at the corner of her forehead and pressing lightly for a while, and then wiping away the tears that had accumulated at the corner of her eyes.

What are you crying about for?

Perhaps, ever since Gu Ningxi behaved abnormally, she had vaguely foreseen that such a day would come.

It’s just that she doesn’t want to admit it, and she, Tao Xinhe, has repeatedly backed down for him up to this point.

He lied so many times, but he explained the reason softly, so she forgives him, and turns over the story.

He said that he recognized his righteous sister, but he was noncommittal, and so even if she sent private objects to him by other, it was not pursued.

He wanted to see other people’s faces, and he was still trying to figure out how to make it work, but he decided to “take a concubine” on his own. Like a harsh slap in the face she finally woke up.

Tao Xinhe turned over and lay on her back, tilted her neck up, staring hard at the top of the carriage, with painful swelling around her eyes. She was feeling as if the teardrops had been held back as she wanted.

She reprimanded herself leaving behind the separation letter. She tried so hard not to cry. She’s going to make a clean break. She’s going to do it right!

Gu Ningxi’s words are worthless. He took the initiative to promise and spoil her for many years, causing her to fall into a dream of just the two of them, showering her with affection, and the picture of life outlined in her mind was that of a loving couple.

Now that he had broken that promise himself, he no longer cared about her own joy and sorrow, treating her, his wife, as an object without heart and without pain, right?   

She can’t think about what it will be like when Gu Ningxi really takes a concubine and has a soft and affectionate daily relationship with Mo Qiqi.

As soon as her thoughts turn to this point, the shadows of those two having an affectionate farewell at the entrance of the alley will overshadow all of her mind. It was as if there were sharp cones drilling holes in her brain, her head hurts and her heart full of desire to vomit.

She Tao Xinhe can’t spend the rest of her life in this kind of pain, watching others share her husband, and then complaining about it. She doesn’t want to sink into the pain, living as a resentful woman, just like… her mother who had tortured herself to death in a lingering sick bed.

Therefore, she withdrew in time, refusing to accompany him.

“If you are going to be this heartless, then  I will leave.”

It was easy to say, but it was difficult to do. Yet she still chose to leave her husband who she has been in love with for more than three years.

Whether Gu Ningxi takes in a concubine in the future, directly marry Mo Qiqi, or continue to marry a second wife from another family, it has nothing to do with her, who decided to return to her family.

Even if this decision hurts her to the core, like a knife and axe penetrating her body, leaving behind trails of blood, and eternal scars, she was not allowed to look back, and her heart was not allowed to soften.

She is only twenty-four years old, Even if her age is no longer young and she turned into a middle-aged soul who would come to hate life, her father is nearly fifty years old. Maybe she can live to her father’s age, then the journey of life is just over halfway. The road maybe blocked and long but After taking back her old dreams, she can look at the future again.

She was looking forward to having a child, but now she feels that it is God’s will such that it is easier for her start again.

Her family loves her and the Tao family is her firm support. Her dowry was enough for her to live on, and it is not a bad idea to live alone in a small courtyard.

Slowly trying to understand the cause and the future, Tao Xinhe seemed to be born again, her eyes brightened, her strength seemed to have returned. She sat up with her hands propped up, and resumed a dignified sitting posture.

There was a thunderous sound coming from her abdomen, reminding her that eating and drinking water was the top priority.

She patted her flat belly and smiled wryly at the absurdity of her day. A pampered woman actually vomited herself out of hunger. It was even in front of a man.

Come to think of it, at that time, she was worrying about gains and losses just because she wanted to see Mo Qiqi. She wanted to show a calm and dignified image in front of her, but instead she trapped herself and made herself suffer.

If you miss the time, you can’t eat? It’s like being bewitched by a little kid, so silly that she’s not willing to look into the crux of the matter.

She rummaged through the carriage and found a dry snack inside a hidden compartment of the carriage. Tao Xinhe took them in her palm and held them up to inspect them. It wasn’t the one that she didn’t want to buy in the morning. She examined it under the light, and found that, it’s still fresh.

She nodded, broke off a corner of the cold and greasy pastry, brought it to her mouth, and chewed it carefully. It was as if she had put all her heart and soul into the simple and repetitive movements in her mouth.

She was able to hold back the discomfort in her throat, and swallowed it with her neck tilted up. she felt her stomach and intestines were subdued and comfortable.

Therefore, the most important thing is to take good care of her body. Tao Xinhe sighed and told herself, she must keep in mind that the pain of punishing herself for a man’s broken promise today must not be repeated ever again!

When she arrived at the entrance of the Tao Manor, Tao Xinhe patted away the crumbs of pastry on her hand. She forced herself to put on a smile, then steadily stepped out of the carriage and stood on her family’s land.

In the second half of the journey, she didn’t hear the sound of rain. At this moment, she really felt that the clouds were closing in on the rain, and the sky was finally clear.

Under the bright blue sky, the air is cold and moist, and the surrounding scenery has been refreshed. Tao Xinhe clasped her hands and looked up at the door plaque of Tao Manor. She seemed to be standing idly, but actually there were three words in her heart:

I am back.

The gatekeepers of the Tao Mansion were chatting about whether the rain was a sign for a “wet year” when they saw a young woman standing on the originally deserted stone road outside the gate.

Her hair was flattened in a bun, her ginger-yellow dress was stained with mud, but her eyes were bright and she stood with a dignified posture. Who is it if it’s not their Revered Lady?

The gatekeepers rushed over to say hello, one of rushed inside to inform them, and the other prepared to arrange the carriage to enter the manor.

Tao Xinhe shook her head to the people. She turned back and said to the coachman of the Gu’s Mansion,

“Thank you for today, but it is not convenient for the Tao Manor to keep the Gu Mansion carriage. I have to tire you out, so go back and return to your master.”

Her voice was weak, astringent and dry, better than speaking clearly.

The coachman supported his bamboo hat and took a peek at his mistress. Hearing the strange words, he could only scratch his head and said,

“I’ll obey Madam’s orders.”

He went back to the front seat of the carriage, before raising the whip to urge the horse, he couldn’t help but ask her: “What will I tell the Master?”

Tao Xinhe stopped at the word and thought for a moment. She sincerely smiled, slowly exhaled and replied:

“If he doesn’t ask, It’s fine. If he did, just say, that I feel that the sea and the sky are broad, and the clouds are finally clear from the rain. What he wants, has nothing to do with me.”

The coachman repeatedly recited the words “sea and sky” and “clouds and rain”, as if he was afraid of forgetting the literary words that the lady had said, and drove the carriage far away.

Tao Xinhe watched the carriage she had been riding in and out of frequently for more than three years fade away.

The tent curtain on the roof was replaced last May, and the axle was a bit dysfunctional, so the plan was to get a craftsman to adjust it in the spring. The horse bits and horseshoes was also strengthened a year ago.

She kept everything in mind. Seeing that the snacks in the carriage were inappropriate today, she also planned to reprimand the relevant servants tomorrow.

But from today, from now on, these matters have nothing to do with her and she can relax with nothing to worry about.

Hearing the loud voice of “Sister”, Tao Xinhe turned her eyes and saw her younger brother Tao Muxian running and jumping out from behind the screen wall of the mansion gate. He was looking around for a moment, and then ran to her in a few steps When he was two feet away, he hurriedly stopped, stared at her, smiling with a mouthful of white teeth.

She also laughed, shook her head, and falsely accused her younger brother for being “reckless.”

Tao Muxian’s joy was beyond words, and he responded with “hehe”. Seeing that his sister was going inside. He followed her with a wagging tail. He was even stepping on the footprints she left behind.

This is a habit he developed when he was brought up by his sister as a child. He was admonished several times by Tao Xinhe, but he didn’t change, and when he grew up he learned to restrain himself, but occasionally he would revert back to his old ways.

Tao Muxian was very happy, but after a few steps, he keenly realized that something was wrong: “Sister, have you been exposed to the rain? Why don’t you change your clothes, you will get sick easily, go in and drink some ginger soup!”

He eagerly crossed in front of Tao Xinhe and instructed the subordinates who greeted him to quickly clean up the Eldest Lady’s courtyard, build a charcoal pot, fetch clean clothes and send her some ginger soup.

When he turned back, Tao Mu Xian wanted to pull his sister’s sleeve and go quickly, he saw Tao Xinhe with crystal eyes and uplifted lips, looking at himself quietly with a look of relief.

Tao Muxian was stunned for a moment, and his chest rose a little higher, and he was indeed praised softly by his sister: “Brother Xian is very considerate.”

“Okay okay, like sister said, I still have to learn more from brother-in-law.”

In the past, once I complimented brother-in-law, sister would be happier and smile more brightly.

But at this time, Tao Xinhe didn’t answer, and turned her head away.

Tao Muxian came back to his senses: “Sister, today is a shower, how come you caught it by chance? How come brother-in-law didn’t accompany you? You just left on the fifth night, Why did you come back alone? Where is Qing Fang? Where are the maids and servants of the Gu Mansion?”

Tao Xinhe pursed her lips, and responded to her younger brother’s series of questions with one sentence:

“There is a reason for this, I will tell you more after I have seen father.”

Tao Muxian understood that something big happened to her sister .

Is it because he, Gu Sicheng, had bullied her, so she wants to bring out Father to deter him?

No, my sister is not such a person who borrows power to take advantage of the situation. 

Could it be that what she is looking father for, was bigger than teaching a son-in-law?

Seeing her sister’s side face tense, Tao Muxian knew that she had made up her mind and would not tell him right now, so he could only accompany her. He sent her to her courtyard and back to her room.

Together with Madam Hong, who was guarding outside. They helped her resettle.

This is the courtyard where Tao Xinhe has lived alone since she was ten years old. After she married, the courtyard was kept close for her. It was regularly cleaned and repaired, and the house was still fully furnished and tidy.

The couple had just left for less than two days after their small stay, and the furnishings had not yet been set up. The colors were all ready. She walked into the main room of the small courtyard and looked around, it was the warm and familiar homely look.

She lowered her head and went silent for a moment, Tao Xinhe looked at her younger brother and sister-in-law again, thanked them, and murmured:

“I want to eat seven kinds of soup.”

Lady Hong unconsciously glanced at the carving funnel, It’s currently the time of the monkey. The time between lunch and dinner, at most, at most it is more appropriate to have some small snacks, otherwise, dinner should be accumulated food.

(T/N: The time of the monkey, is around 3-5 in the afternoon)

Just as she was about to make a suggestion, the husband next to her immediately responded and ordered the kitchen to deliver it quickly.

After a while, Tao Xinhe looked at the newly made soup in front of her. The main ingredients were river fish and mustard greens, and there were five other auspicious vegetables to match it.

At first glance, the green and white fish is attractive. There were large pieces of white fish meat, tender green mustard greens that were shredded into pieces. The soup color was almost the same as the white porcelain sea bowl. It must be added with the broth.

There are wisps of steam rising from the top of the soup, and the rich aroma attracts the nose, which can make people’s craving revive.

The Manor’s cook is as good as ever, Tao Xinhe can already imagine the taste of this bowl of soup, her mouth quietly become watery.

The little maids gathered around, and some used spoons to divide the seven kinds of soup into the palm-sized and thin celadon round bowls, commonly used by women. Someone tucked in Tao Xinhe’s sleeves, pushed the chair and handed her a spoon.

This is the kind of routine that she was used to. The embarrassment of crying and eating snacks alone in the carraige will never happen to her again.

Her younger brother and sister-in-law sat with her at the elegant Luodian round table, and after Tao Xinhe gave way to them in accordance with etiquette, she slowly picked up a spoonful of the food.

Her manner of eating was still dignified and elegant, there is no sound of clinking bowls and spoons, but she ate one spoonful after another, almost without pause. Tao Xinhe quickly used up the whole bowl, and even drank more than half of the newly added second bowl. The others who were watching her secretly wondered.

It was still Tao Muxian who couldn’t help himself, and mumbled:

“Sister, there is still half an hour, before dinner.”

She stopped her spoon, picked up a handkerchief and lightly tapped her lips. She then smiled at her family with squinted eyes. Just like what Tao Muxian remembered, it was bright and flamboyant.

Tao Xinhe felt that her whole body was nourished by food, and she finally felt well.