The 10th year of Shengde.
In August, the sun was blazing, and the green hills of Da Xiong Mountain were lined with fog, resembling a fairyland on earth. At the bottom of the mountain, there is an exquisite, elegant manor.
In the hazy morning sun, the person on the bed slept restlessly. Her brow was furrowed and tears were hanging from the corners of her eyes as if she had a nightmare.
In the dream, Shen Yan Mo heard a baby’s cry. Her eyes were half-open and she was half-awake yet she could not open them while her forehead was drenched in sweat.
Then came the voice of an old lady. The voice was gentle, but her words were cold and piercing: “The nobleman said that this child must not be kept. Do what you want.”
Shen Yan Mo tried to open her eyes, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t open them.
Another woman said: “This child is the lifeblood of the lady, she is now in such a bad shape. With only this child, why do you have to kill him? Why don’t I take the child out and throw him far away? Whether he lives or dies, it will depend on his fate.” There was a hint of pleading in her voice.
The woman who spoke first immediately snapped and said sternly, “I understand the principle of cutting off the grass and getting rid of the root. If the root of the trouble is hidden now, and the nobleman finds out in the future, I will die without a body. Give me the child.” She grabbed the child and lifted it before slamming it to the ground.
“Don’t.” Shen Yan Mo heard the baby fall to the ground. The baby did not have time to make a sound. Just like that, it fell to the ground, and the back of the head was a bloody blur.
Don’t ask her how she knew the baby’s head was covered in blood, she seemed to see it and yet seemed to not see it. Her mind was full of blood.
Shen Yan Mo snapped her eyes open. They were covered in tears and she gasped for air as she got up and looked around.
“Madam, you have woken up, did you have a nightmare?” The maid lifted the bed curtain and looked towards the bed, only to see Shen Yan Mo staring at the bed curtain in a daze. Panicked, she was afraid that Shen Yan Mo had bumped into something unclean, so she nudged her with her hand and whispered, “Madam, what’s wrong with you, wake up, don’t scare Qiu Yue.”
Shen Yan Mo returned to her senses, and only then looked at the maid by the bed. It looked like her own maid Qiu Yue, and she unconsciously asked, “Qiu Yue, where am I?”
The dream just now seemed to be real and fake.
In the dream, she was thrown out of the manor by the Marquis of Wuchang, Gu Shaoyi. She gave birth to a child in October, and because of the energy consumed in childbirth, she had no strength after giving birth to the child. She was half awake and half asleep when she saw the child being thrown to the ground, covered in blood, and watched it die just like that. She couldn’t catch her breath and die along with it.
“Madam, what happened to you. The young lady said that you abused her and her arms were covered with bruises. The marquis convicted you without even asking and threw you to the village in a fit of anger.” Qiu Yi found a long dress and was ready to help Shen Yan Mo to change. Seeing that she was sweating, she inquired, “Does madam want to bathe?”
Shen Yan Mo thought about what happened in her dream and did not answer, she only nodded her head.
Qiu Yue put down her long skirt and left. After she went to the kitchen, she instructed Zhang Ma to boil water.
The lady was thrown out of the manor by the Marquis. Except for a mute old man, Uncle Zhang, and a maid, Zhang Ma who did the chores, there was no one else in the two-room house.
Shen Yan Mo remained sitting on the bed dazed, as if she did not believe she was still alive. The blood was pouring out of her mouth, her heart was contracting, her breathing was rapid, and she was no longer alive. Everything seemed so real, how did she return to the village when she first arrived.
Could it be that God took pity on her and let her come back to life because he couldn’t bear to see her die so suddenly at such a young age? Or maybe he took pity on her child who died in vain and had mercy and let her be reborn? Or is it that what just happened was just a dream?
In any case, she is still alive. A trembling hand touched the flat abdomen, where a small life had been conceived. No matter what, she had to keep him safe and protect him as he grew up.
The marquis’s nasty and dirty things, whoever wants to get involved can get involved, she will not participate.
It is said that being a stepmother is not a good job. She as a stepmother wanted to teach her stepdaughter, but the old lady thought she was treating her stepdaughter harshly. Since she entered the door, her stepson was directly taken by the old lady. He was over-pampered, arrogant, and domineering. When she reminded her of a couple of things, the old lady thought she had ulterior motives.
The stepmother of the Marquis of Wuchang, whoever wants it can have it. She only wants to raise her own child. Whether she was strict with them or spoiled them, no one else would question it.
Qiu Yue carried hot water towards the inner room and began complaining, “Madam, why did the Marquis treat you like this? It is obvious that Missy framed you! The Marquis didn’t even listen to your defense, it is really abominable! Everyone in the Marquis of Wuchang Mansion is abominable.”
She made several trips back and forth, finished fetching water, then walked next to Shen Yan Mo. Her pouting mouth pinched her waist and detailed the people of Marquis Wuchang’s deeds with a look as if she would have eaten Gu Shaoyi.
Shen Yan Mo acted as if she did not hear it. She entered the inner room to bathe and came out with a new set of plain clothes, combed a woman’s sideburns, and inserted a silver hairpin. She looked simply and elegantly without losing her beauty. Looking at the person in the bronze mirror, Shen Yan Mo seemed like she had lived a lifetime. She was obviously sixteen years old, but her heart was like a sixty-year-old.
She is the first daughter of the first house of the Shen family in Jinling. Her father was a third-ranking official and served in the post of the Imperial Secretary for Salt Inspection in the Huai Huai provinces. But unfortunately, he died in office in less than six months, and others said his father had committed suicide for fear of corruption and bribery.
Shen Yan Mo believes in his father and knew that he would not. Her father was born in a poor family. After ten years of hard work, once he reached secondary education, his only wish was to petition for the people and serve the country. He is a person of integrity, not afraid of power, and had a cheerful character. How could he become corrupt and commit suicide for fear of committing a crime?
After her father’s death, her mother was depressed. Her paternal grandmother was contemptuous and difficult, and her aunt ostracized her, causing her to fall ill and follow her father in a couple of months. From then on, she and her brother struggled to make a living under her aunt, and it is easy to imagine how difficult the days were.
The year her parents passed away, Shen Yan Mo was twelve years old, and her brother Shen Yuan An was two years older than her.
When Shen Yan Mo was fifteen years old, her uncle became the official Doctor Fengzhi. It was an idle position without real power, and in order to get in touch with the powerful, the Shen family married Shen Yan Mo into the Marquis of Wuchang.
Shen Yan Mo married into the Marquis of Wuchang and never met or interacted with the Marquis. The Marquis of Wuchang was nostalgic and had his first wife in mind. He treated Shen Yan Mo as a transparent person, indifferent and cold.