"You've already followed me here. Why are you saying this now?" Xia-shi coquettishly pouted. Tugging on the lapel of Ji Man's robe, she said, "I'm a widow, and I don't care about my reputation. When I was at that rich person's place, I didn't dare to make a wrong move, so it's been so long since I had a taste of being ravished."
Ji Man grabbed her hand and nervously laughed. "Older sister, there's no need to hurry. I'm kind of curious. What kind of place did you go to? Since it was a rich household, what caused you to become so upset over it?"
Xia-shi harrumphed. At the mention of this topic, she still felt somewhat indignant. "I had originally thought it was a boon from the Heavens. Someone appeared out of the blue, gave me a child, and wanted me to go to his household to be a mother for his child. But, as it turned out, he just wanted me to be a milk mother. He even said that I didn't look as good as the child's biological mother. I felt so mad today."
Ji Man was stunned. It took a long time before she found her voice again. "Haohao isn't your son?"
"Of course not." Xia-shi blurted out. A moment later, her entire body stiffened as she looked at Ji Man. "You..."
After Ji Man had taken a deep breath, she suddenly burst out in laughter.
If Haohao wasn't Xia-shi's son, then who were his parents? Since Ning Yuxuan had announced Haohao as his heir, Haohao had to be Ning Yuxuan's biological son. When would he have gotten a son that appeared out of nowhere and needed a fake mother?
Thinking it over, it had to be her child that had disappeared back then. Haohao was the child that had been replaced with a toddy kitten. Ning Yuxuan had felt it was safe to bring Haohao back into the household by saying he was another woman's son.
Ning Yuxuan, ah, Ning Yuxuan, you played such an underhanded trick. By keeping her in the dark, he had caused her so much pain.
Slowly standing up and heading towards the door, Ji Man almost couldn't stop her hysterical laughter. Her son had been right in front of her, and she had even seen his birthday grab, but she hadn't known that he was her child.
"Who are you?" Xia-shi returned to her senses and grabbed Ji Man's arm. Xia-shi's pull was so forceful that Ji Man almost fell to the ground. But, suddenly, someone had grabbed her other arm and stopped her from falling.
Xia-shi shrieked. Ji Man didn't see who was behind her and didn't know what had happened. Before she could come to her senses, the other person had already taken her outside and towards a carriage.
There was the sound of children crying in the fishing village, as well as a woman swearing. Ji Man blankly raised her head and saw the face that she wanted to smack the most right now.
Ning Yuxuan was holding Haohao and quietly looking at her.
Ji Man clenched her hands. She really wanted to hit him, but she didn't dare to strike down. In this society where men had all the power, if a woman slapped a man and offended his sense of dignity, then there was no use in even discussing if there was love between the two of you. Anyways, a woman wouldn't have a good end.
"This face looks really ugly," Ning Yuxuan lightly said.
With her attention focused on the child that he was holding, she absent-mindedly asked, "How do you know that it's me?"
"Just trying my luck. They said there was an advisor named Ji Man by Zhangjun Prince's side." Ning Yuxuan lowered his gaze. "Didn't you say that you're called Ji Man. Hearing that same name, I tested to see if it was you, and you really did come here."
The corners of Ji Man's lips twitched. It couldn't be that this person had been testing every single person with the same name as her, right?
Haohao opened his eyes and sucked on his finger. Marquis Moyu turned him around to face Ji Man. He took Haohao's little finger out of his mouth and pointed at Ji Man. He said, "Mom."
Eyes slightly reddening, Ji Man pressed her lips together. Looking at her son, whom she had always thought was someone else's child, she didn't know what to say.
Haohao blew a few saliva bubbles. He looked at Ning Yuxuan with a pitiful gaze and silently pouted.
Stretching her arms out, she took the young child into her arms. Burying her head in between that little shoulder, she said in a muffled voice, "Marquis, your heart is really too cruel."
Ning Yuxuan chuckled. "You say that as if your own heart isn't the same."
Ji Man stayed silent for a while before saying, "I don't want to be protected by someone in that way. I want to be able to protect myself instead of staying behind you while living in ignorance and having no idea what you're doing."
Ning Yuxuan pursed his lips and lowly laughed. "So, it's better for you to be Zhangjun Prince's advisor instead? Sangyu, you're a woman. It's not your place to do these things, and you won't be able to do it successfully either."
"I'm Ji Man, not Sangyu." Ji Man raised her head and continued to hold Haohao as she looked at Ning Yuxuan. "You haven't seen what women are capable of. I'll show you through my actions."
"What about Haohao?" Marquis Moyu slightly furrowed his brow. "Do you not want Haohao anymore?"
Slightly stunned, Ji Man drew her hands closer to herself. The little fellow in her arms rubbed against her chest.
She was already working under Zhangjun Prince. She refused to give up on her plan halfway. But, what about Haohao? She had already missed so much time with Haohao. And now, she had to leave him again. Was she going to miss the rest of his childhood little by little?
Although she had repeatedly told herself that this was Nie Sangyu's child, her heart stilled melted into mush as she held Haohao.
"Can you give Haohao to me?"
Ning Yuxuan chuckled. "You're holding my heir. Do you think a heir is someone that can be casually given away?"
"Then..." Ji Man frowned.
"Haohao needs a teacher," Marquis Moyu lightly said, "But, based on your status, I'm afraid that you wouldn't be suitable. You'll have to figure out a way by yourself."
T/N: If you're been reading my spoilers, sorry, I was wrong about the length of the timeskip. I vaguely remembered that Ning Yuxuan said he was getting a teacher for Haohao and I wrongfully assumed that Haohao was at least kindergarten age when he’s reunited with Ji Man.