The West Yard hadn’t been cleaned up yet, and Ji Rang took the person to his room.
The general of Zhenguo had minimal needs, and most of the rewards he received were distributed to his soldiers. Thus, his room also looked simple and clean. Only a half-person tall, white-glazed porcelain vase was placed in front of the window with a few plum blossoms in it.
The flowers were gradually withering, but the fragrance remained, half hazy and half cold. The little girl who had been shrinking in his arms slowly raised her head and looked carefully.
Ji Rang put her on the soft chair of the outside room.
She looked thin and small, with a bloodstained face, and she shrank into a ball in her cloak, not daring to look up at him.
Ji Rang closed the doors and windows, covered the cold wind and snow, and lighted the bronze stove on the side of the chair. Finally, there was some heat in the house. He sat down on the side of the chair, fearing that he would scare her, so he kept his voice as soft as possible: “Are you still cold?”
The little girl lowered her head, her ink black hair scattered on both sides, so he was unable to see her face, but she shook her head slightly.
Ji Rang thought for a while, then asked, “Are you hungry?”
She still shook her head.
For the first time, the decisive general felt helpless.
He grew up in the army since he was a child, surrounded by a group of rough men. In recent years, he had been fighting in the north and south, and his temper had become harder. He knew how to control an army of two hundred thousand, but he didn’t know how to get along with a little girl whose wrist he could seemingly break with his two fingers.
Fortunately, the personal guards knocked on the door quickly, breaking his embarrassment: “General, hot water is ready.”
Ji Rang said in a deep voice: “I see, go down.” After the figure outside the house left, he got up and looked down at the little girl in front of him: “May I take you to take a bath?”
She finally didn’t shake her head again. When she looked up at him, her eyes were clear and soft, and she asked in a low voice, “Does the general want to keep me here?”
Ji Rang smiled: “Do you want to stay?”
She pursed her lower lip and nodded gently for a while.
He leaned over, reached out and picked her up, turned and walked out: “Then stay.”
Ji Rang stood by the door while the little girl was bathing in the room. After a while, Uncle Zhang came over with a clean dress. “There are few women’s clothes in the mansion. Someone has been sent to buy them. This is what the lady left. General, you see…”
Ji Rang took it over: “No problem.”
Zhang Bo vigorously rubbed his fingers and asked, “What is the last name of the girl brought back by the general, and her age. Can there be a marriage and are the parents still there?”
Ji Rang thought a little: “She’s Qi Ying.”
Uncle Zhang: “Nothing more?”
Ji Rang: “Nothing.”
Uncle Zhang: “…”
Ji Rang smiled and patted Uncle Zhang on the shoulder: “When she is well rested, you can ask her yourself. Get the West Yard ready as soon as possible. By the way, put more heaters in the house, she is afraid of the cold.”
He actually knew to care about people.
Zhang Bo was immediately relieved and took the order.
After a while, the sound of the water in the bath house gradually decreased. Ji Rang had the strong hearing of a military commander, he knocked on the door, and the sound of the water disappeared instantly, he could almost imagine the little girl frozen in the water.
He chuckled silently and cleared his throat: “I found clean clothes. Can I bring it in? If I can’t come, I will just put it on the screen, and you take it yourself.”
The little girl’s soft voice came out accompanied by water vapor: “Okay.”
He opened the door, and the heat lingered in the bath house. At the door, there was a six-panel green screen that opened and closed. He did what he said, put the dress on the screen and turned to cover the door.
There was a rustle behind the door, and soon the little girl came out wearing the dress.
The blood was gone, the young girl in white and green dress, with makeup on her eyebrows, was more beautiful than the clusters of plum blossoms on the palace wall.
The sky had dimmed.
Ji Rang led her around the corridor, and when she returned to the room, the cook had already brought the food up. Ji Rang had always been kind to his servants. There was no distinction between master and servant. The chef saw the beautiful little girl following him, and her eyes were all smiles: “It’s rare that there are women in the house. The girl, eat first. If there is something unappetizing or not to your taste, just tell me.”
Qi Ying nodded shyly and swallowed secretly when she saw the food on the table.
She had never seen so many delicious dishes.
In recent years, as the refugees flee from the west, she even chewed on bark during the famine, the general mansion was even better than her previous days.
This person not only rescued her, but also gave her clothes and food. Qi Ying glanced at the man in front of her with affection and sat down beside him obediently.
She was a little cautious, the general didn’t move the chopsticks, so she didn’t move either. She would not touch dishes until the general had picked up his share.
Halfway through the meal, Ji Rang suddenly called her: “Yingying.”
Qi Ying almost couldn’t hold her chopsticks firmly, and the crimson rose from her neck all the way to behind her ears, like a peach blossom blooming in the late spring of March.
He raised his eyebrows slightly: “Do you mind if I call you that?”
She lowered her eyes, her thick eyelashes trembling lightly, and the sound was like a mosquito: “Don’t mind.”
Ji Rang held the chopsticks to pick up the kidney bean cake he hadn’t touched, put it in her bowl, and said warmly: “I don’t like sweets. This is made by the chef specially for you. Try to see if it suits your taste.”
She was a little surprised by the words “specially for you”, as if she was treated so well for the first time, and her wet eyes were full of care.
After taking an obedient bite, a sweet smile curled up at the corner of his lips: “It’s delicious.”
Ji Rang also smiled, and picked up another one for her, “As long as you want to stay, you can treat this as your home in the future, don’t be restrained.”
The sweet scent of kidney bean cake spread along the tip of her tongue. She had never eaten such a delicious cake before, and it was so sweet that it reached to the bottom of her heart.
While still eating, Uncle Zhang came over with the lamp, and when he entered the room, he saw the pretty little girl, and he saluted cheerfully: “The old slave has seen the madam.”
Qi Ying was chewing kidney bean cake but was choked by Uncle Zhang’s “Madam” for a long time.
Ji Rang took the water and patted her back again. He glanced at the embarrassed Uncle Zhang amusedly, and changed the subject: “Is the West Yard ready?”
Uncle Zhang immediately said: “Yes, please… Please come and take a look, Miss Ying. If there is still something missing, just tell the old slave to do it.”
Ji Rang nodded, and asked Qi Ying, whose face was flushed with choking, “Are you full?”
She nodded repeatedly.
Ji Rang got up and walked to the back room, took out a black cloak and put it on her shoulders, “Let’s go and take a look.”
The snow was still falling, and a canna plant in the courtyard was drooping down by the snow accumulation. Under the light of the lamp under the eaves, it showed a bit of dark green at its root. Zhang Bo walked ahead with a lantern, and he was still interested in asking about Qi Ying’s life experience. As soon as he learned that she was an orphan, he sighed and knew that there was no need to ask more.
In those years of war and chaos, he went to northern Xinjiang with the old general, and the refugees wherever he passed were devastated. Later, the young general was ordered to take over the area, and he only gradually repaired the chaos.
The girl looked so weak; she must have suffered a lot over the years.
Uncle Zhang asked again: “I don’t know how old Miss Ying is?”
Qi Ying replied in a low voice, “I will be fifteen after the Chinese New Year.”
Uncle Zhang hadn’t answered yet, he walked in the West Yard and said with a smile: “Still a little girl.”
Qi Ying felt her ear tips heat up inexplicably.
When they arrived at the West Yard, two lanterns hung down on the eaves, which were lightly blown by the night breeze. There were two maids waiting at the door to salute respectfully when people came over.
There were no maids in Fu Zhongyuan. Ji Rang did not like to be served closely by outsiders. These two maids were newly added today. Uncle Zhang said, “This is the Ying girl, and they will serve you well in the future.”
Qi Ying hid behind Ji Rang and smiled abashedly at them.
The two maids were worried that the master would not be easy to serve. Seeing Qi Ying’s appearance, they all smiled relievedly.
The west yard was quiet and elegant, and the flowers and plants were also luxuriant in winter. Under the clear moon, the yard was covered with orchids, and the climbing rose vines on the courtyard wall were also covered by the snow.
According to Ji Rang’s instructions, Qi Ying’s room was equipped with heaters in all corners, and the room was very warm. The maid and Uncle Zhang closed the door and left, leaving them alone in the house. She looked around and asked in a low voice, “Is this my room?”
Ji Rang nodded: “Do you like it?”
She was a little excited: “I like it.”
As soon as he saw her smile, he rejoiced and laughed: “Today you were shocked, and you should be tired. Rest early. If you need anything, tell me tomorrow.”
He was about to leave, Qi Ying was taken aback for a moment, and subconsciously shouted: “General.”
Ji Rang turned around, with gentle eyebrows: “Huh?”
The girl’s eyebrows were drooping, her fingers hidden in her sleeves were squeezed into fists, and it took a long time before she whispered, “You don’t need me to serve?”
She was not a little girl anymore, she had been wandering around over the years, many things had already been understood by her.
He brought her back to the house and gave her a new life. He could not do good deeds for nothing.
But she was not disgusted.
This person was a hero respected by the world, the moment he broke into her sight, he also broke into her heart.
Besides, he saved her, she should repay her favor.
When she asked this sentence, the room was silent for a while, and only the soft sound of sparks jumping in the stove could be heard. Her heart was beating so fast, her ears were red, she didn’t dare to look at him at all.
Ji Rang looked at her for a long time and couldn’t help laughing.
Qi Ying was unclear, so she raised her eyes and ran into his deep gaze and heard him say: “You are still a little girl.”
T/N: I fell in love even more with a mature Ji Rang… And the General does seem swoon-worthy, doesn’t he?
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