Chapter 3: Climb All Over My Head
Just when Xia Chunyu was about to lose his patience, Ye Jiayao hobbled in, carrying plates of steaming food.
“What took you so long?” Xia Chunyu demanded.
Ye Jiayao resisted the urge to roll her eyes.?This arrogant man!??She should’ve just given him two cucumbers to gnaw on since he wanted a quick meal so much.
“The kitchen has run out of food and I made this at the last minute,” Ye Jiayao replied.
The enticing scent that drifted over made Xia Chunyu walk over to take a look. It was a bowl of egg fried rice that looked very pleasing to the eye. Each grain of rice was coated yellow, shiny with oil yet not greasy, the rice was mixed with meat, carrots, and cucumbers, plus fine bits of eggs and shiitake mushroom. All the vibrant colors made the dish looked very appetizing. It made his mouth water but he could not let her know that, so instead, he said, “What is this mess? Can this be eaten?”
Ye Jiayao cursed inwardly.?You ungrateful git! I make you something to eat and here you are, criticizing it! If you don’t like it then don’t eat it!
She plastered on a fake smile and said,?“There are no other ingredients in the kitchen. I can only make this, so I’m afraid you will have to make do with this, 3rd-in-charge. At least, it is better than an empty stomach.”
He was already digging in before she could even finish her sentence.
Ugh, this doesn’t taste bad.??The meat was tender and creamy, the carrot and cucumber were fresh and crisp, and the saltiness was just right. It was actually comparable to the royal kitchen’s eight treasure rice. Maybe it tasted delicious because he really was starving? After all, how could it possibly compare to the royal kitchen?
Regardless, it wasn’t bad. In fact, he would consider it as?the most exquisite food he has eaten since he came up the mountain. The past half a year has been hard on his stomach.
Ye Jiayao sneaked a peek at his expression as he ate. He was still frowning!?Is it that disgusting?
“How is it? Is it okay?” Ye Jiayao asked softly.
“So-so,” Xia Chunyu replied indifferently.
Ye Jiayao sneered in her head. A bandit who was a picky eater, go figure.
“What’s your name?” Xia Chunyu took a mouthful of soup. It was light, a little sweet and sour and a perfect complement to the egg fried rice.
Ye Jiayao’s face darkened with anger. Was he now only bothering to ask for her name after molesting her? Was there anything more preposterous than this?
“Ye… Jinxuan, my nickname is Yao Yao,” Ye Jiayao stumbled, almost saying the wrong name.
Xia Chunyu glanced at her and commented, “That bridal gown is quite exquisite. They really take this seriously.”
What did he mean? “I embroidered this myself.”
“You embroidered it yourself?” Xia Chunyu was shocked. “I heard you are found by second-in-charge. Where exactly are you from?”
“Found? I was kidnapped! I was on my way to Ji Nan prefecture to get married! I don’t even know what the situation at home is since the bride got kidnapped. I guess it is a mess right now,” Ye Jiayao resented.
Xia Chunyu just stared at her blankly. Was she really kidnapped? This was not an elaborate ploy of the first-in-charge?
Ye Jiayao wondered why he looked so shocked. Could it be that he doesn’t know? Hope flared in her chest as she stammered, “Third-in-charge, do some good and let me go! I am not the daughter of an ordinary family. My father is the Yang Zhou prefecture government, sub-prefect Ye Bingrong. I was initially supposed to marry the Wei family’s eldest son in Ji Nan prefecture. If they knew that I got kidnapped, they would find their way here, and it would not be good for the stockade. Let me go and I would eternally be grateful. I would even set up a longevity memorial tablet for you.”
Longevity memorial tablet my foot, he was not dead yet! Xia Chunyu laughed coldly. “Why? Do you still want to marry the Mr. Wei?”
To think that she actually was not just some small fry! Yang Zhou prefecture government sub-prefect’s daughter and Ji Nan prefectural magistrate’s daughter-in-law; first brother was indeed generous. Though compared to the list of crimes Hei Feng Gang has committed, kidnapping the daughter-in-law of a prefectural magistrate was no big deal.
If what she said was true, then he would not be able to just leave her after completing his work. If she was still obedient, he could consider taking her in as a concubine after he leaves. Her status as his wife would be insufficient.
However, this was only?her side of the story; the truth still has to be investigated.
“No, no, I am a fallen flower! How can I marry Mr. Wei? I only wish to go back to Yang Zhou and stay single for the rest of my life,” Ye Jiayao pleaded her case.
The ancient people hold honor with the highest regard. Who would want a woman who has lost her virginity? Surely, she was aware of this?
Xia Chunyu mocked, “Do you think that if you go back to Yang Zhou your family will still tolerate you? You’d be lucky if your father does not strangle you to death just to protect the family reputation.”
Ye Jiayao felt numb. That was not possible. Even though her birth mother has passed away a long time ago, and her stepmother does not like her, she was still her father’s daughter. A tiger never devours its cubs!
“Don’t look so shocked. I did not say that to scare you.”?Xia Chunyu raised his eyebrows, cleaning the bowl of its last grain of rice.
“Then… then I will not go home! I can survive on my own without the Ye family.” Ye Jiayao shuddered, heartbroken because she knew that he was telling the truth.
Her statement caused him to sneer. “You? Survive on your own? How? Sell yourself as a prostitute or a slave? If you want to sell yourself as a slave, just sell yourself over here. A kind customer like me is not easy to find.”
Ye Jiayao flushed red with fury. She really wished that she could just pour the soup over his head and spit rice on his face. How could there be such an evil person? What does he take her for? He was a bandit and what’s more than that, he was a bandit leader. How could you talk sense to a bandit?
“I am still not full. You can’t finish yours?” Xia Chunyu snatched her bowl of rice without waiting for an answer.
“Who says I can’t finish? Didn’t you say this is not good? Why are you eating so much? Careful, we don’t want you to stuff yourself to death.” Ye Jiayao pounced over, snatching her bowl back.
Xia Chunyu looked at her, surprised. He didn’t think that she would really snatch it from him. She looked like a hungry wolf pouncing for food.
Yang Zhou prefecture government sub-prefect’s daughter, a daughter from a wealthy family, and yet so unrefined. Xia Chunyu found this unfathomable. She really was making him doubt her wealthy claims.
Xia Chunyu glared at her, frowning.
Seeing his scowl, Ye Jiayao remembered that she was still in the wolf’s den and her life was literally in his hand. Immediately, the fire burning within her extinguished.
“I ate the top?part, why don’t I share half of the bottom part with you?” she compromised weakly.
She was so busy talking that she barely took a few bites. She has always taken her time to chew slowly because delicacies need to be savored, even if it was just plain rice. Chewing slowly makes the food taste sweeter.
Xia Chunyu snorted. “That will not be necessary. Get me another bowl.”
“I’m afraid the leftover is all in Song Qi’s stomach,” she replied.
Xia Chunyu’s face darkened. Why did she not bring all of it over? Did she forget that he was a man? Did she think that he has a cat’s stomach like her? A bowl and he will be satisfied?
Ye Jiayao looked at his dark expression and silently pushed her bowl over.
Xia Chunyu took it grumpily and scooped half of it into his bowl, leaving the other half for her.
Ye Jiayao secretly rejoiced upon seeing that he was not ruthless enough to leave her with nothing.
This time, Ye Jiayao did not dare to take the time to savor her food in case he finished and snatch her food away from her again.
Soon, both of their bowls were empty, but Xia Chunyu was still unsatisfied while Ye Jiayao was only half-full.
After taking off his clothes and going back to bed, Xia Chunyu said, “Just be content up here in the mountains. Don’t think of unrealistic things, and as long as you are obedient, I will not mistreat you.”
Ye Jiayao?didn’t know whether to?laugh or cry. What did he mean by “will not mistreat”? Didn’t she almost got mauled by him today? Was that the good treatment then?
Xia Chunyu leaned up on the bed and raised a leg, looking at her expectantly.
Did that mean that she has to help him take off his boots? Ye Jiayao complained inwardly. Though she was not born wealthy in her past life, she was still the treasure of her parents. Her host was a respectable lady and was waited upon since her young age. Waiting on people like this was a first for her in both her lives.
However, Ye Jiayao knew that whether it was a first for her or not, she has to do it. She was stuck in the proverbial wolf’s den and living under someone’s shelter. She has to lower her head and suck it up.
She shifted over unwillingly to help him take off his boots.
Why was this boot so tight? Ye Jia Yao was unable to get it off despite trying a couple of times. Then she realized it was this stinking man who was flexing his foot and making it difficult for her on purpose!
Xia Chunyu rested his head in his hands and watched her idly as she tried with all her might to take the boot off.
If she had a knife in her hand right now she would’ve cut his stinking foot off, Ye Jiayao thought furiously.
She gritted and ground her teeth as she exerted all her force to tug, at the same time that Xia Chunyu relaxed his foot, causing her to fall back. She landed on her bottom, hugging his boot.
Xia Chunyu laughed loudly, suddenly finding that it was fun to have someone to tease.
Ye Jiayao was boiling mad and before she thought better of it, she hurled the boot towards his face.
Xia Chunyu did not think that she would throw the boot at him and he was laughing so merrily that he did not notice until it was too late. The boot flew towards his face and landed right smack on his open mouth.
In a split second, the house became eerily quiet, as though the air stopped moving. Ye Jiayao stared angrily at him while Xia Chunyu seemed to go blank from the impact. After a few seconds, indignation filled his eyes, his expression turning severe.
After a few seconds of eye contact, Ye Jiayao shrunk. She crawled up obediently and took the other boot off.
Xia Chunyu did not move, allowing her to take the boot off. After the boot was removed, he straightened up and scooped her into his arms. He flung her over onto the bed and pinned her down under him, saying fiercely, “Nobody dares to throw a boot at me.”
Seeing how he looked like he was about to eat her alive, Ye Jiayao cried fearfully, “I am wrong! I am wrong, I apologize, okay? I have never done this before at home. I am always the one who is waited upon. I am unable to adapt to such a sudden change in status. Sir, please have mercy and forgive me this once.”
“Forgive you? If you dared to throw a boot at my face, then you should be aware of the consequences. You think you can climb all over me just because I am polite to you? If I don’t punish you for your mistakes, you will not learn.” Xia Chunyu remained immovable with fury. If this got out, that Jing An Hou’s heir got a boot thrown at his face by a woman, his reputation would be tarnished.
“I have learned it already! I will definitely not do it again, ahhhh… have mercy…”
“There’s no use begging for mercy…”
Outside, Song Qi, who was leaning against the railing after a satisfying meal, heard the new big sister’s cries, and thought sympathetically, “So, third-in-law is really a beast…”