And the Birthday Celebration Arc starts!!!
And there is only one post for this chapter!!! 😀
Edited by Tnyhy
Chapter 70: Birthday Celebration
The third day of the eleven month was a day where the sun hung up in the sky brightly, and it was rare to have such a good weather in winter, which also happened to coincide with Old Shen Furen’s seventieth birthday banquet.
The inside and outside of the General’s residence was cleaned up and money was taken out from the public fun to buy new stuff. Naturally the birthday banquet was held in the Eastern courtyard, as it had a beautiful and elegant ambience and the flora and fauna were pruned tidily. The maids wore clean and tidy uniform dresses and their behaviour conformed to no conventional pattern, and each of them were well-behaved. When one walked in, one would feel that it was an air worthy to be considered as a big family.
Old Shen Furen sat at the highest position in Rong Jing Tang and there were already a number of Furen and young ladies that went up to greet. The Shen family is considered a first class general lineage family in Ming Qi, thus officials and nobility would often take into consideration the social relationship and came over. Ren Wan Yun was also busy greeting the guests.
Even though now it was Chen Rou Qiu who was temporarily holding the power of managing the family but in the previous years, Old Shen Furen’s birthday banquets were organised by Ren Wan Yun. Thus Ren Wan Yun could do better than Chen Rou Qiu in dealing with these noble Furens. Chen Rou Qiu at the end still had the air of a scholar but Ren Wan Yun was different. She was able to cope appropriately to the occasion, and in a short time Rong Jing Tang was filled with laughter.
Shen Yuan Bo was clinging onto Old Shen Furen eating honey milk sweets. From time to time, the Furens present complimented him for being so clever at such a young age and would be someone worthy in future. Old Shen Furen heard all this and was beaming with joy and those compliments also evened out the haze in Ren Wan Yun’s heart, that due to Shen Qing’s accident was swept away in pain.
On the contrary it was Chen Rou Qiu who felt uncomfortable when she saw everyone praising Shen Yuan Bo and Shen Yuan, who was in a post in another county. The thing that the Third household was most afraid to talk about was about sons. Everyone knew that Chen Rou Qiu has been married to Shen Wan for so many years and other than having Shen Yue, there had been no sons. Against expectations, Shen Wan was not interested in other females, even though Old Shen Furen wanted to give a few concubines to Shen Wan as to spread the family branches out, but Shen Wan rejected it. Old Shen Furen was thus angry at Chen Rou Qiu and so Ren Wan Yun apparently had more of Old Shen Furen’s favour than compared with Chen Rou Qiu.
“However, why is the Eldest Young Lady and Fifth Young Lady of the Shen family not seen today?” Yi Furen said with a smile.
Ren Wan Yun was responsible for the reception of these Furens, so naturally Shen Yue went to linger with those noble young ladies. She brought them to the garden to drink tea and eat some snacks. But there was no sight of Shen Miao and Shen Qing.
When Ren Wan Yun and Old Shen Furen heard of this, both of their faces sank at the same time and Chen Rou Qiu’s lips twitched.
Shen Qing’s health had recovered fully and now she was able to meet others, but she continue to speak of wanting to shred Shen Miao into thousands of pieces. These words could not be heard by outsiders, thus Ren Wan Yun kept comforting Shen Qing these days so that she would not have any suicidal thoughts. As for how to comfort, what Chen Rou Qiu could only think of was, the promises of what kind of miserable fate would Shen Miao end up with.
As for Shen Miao, Chen Rou Qiu did not know from where she heard that Old Shen Furen had secretly accepted the Wei family’s eight character card. From that day onwards, she changed from her previous silence, and now resisted like crazy. She also threatened to oppose the marriage and run away from it. When Old Shen Furen heard those words it became a big matter. Ren Wan Yun and Old Shen Furen considered that with the current wild behaviour emerging from Shen Miao, there was a definite possibility that she was able to run away from the marriage. However nothing must happen to Shen Miao as if anything went wrong with her, the exchange of marriage with Shen Qing would not be successful.
Thus after Shen Miao’s threatened to oppose the marriage, Old Shen Furen and Ren Wan Yun did not give up, and went through it to the end and locked Shen Miao in the ancestral hall. The ancestral hall was the southwest most corner of the courtyard, and usually no one would be able to see it. The guards that were outside it had increased by half and the life contracts of all the maids in the Western courtyard, including Shen Miao’s four personal maids, were all in Old Shen Furen’s hands.
The implied meaning was that if there was any little action from Shen Miao, these few maids’ life would not be safe.
Thus these days Shen Miao was locked in the Shen family ancestral hall and chanted scriptures every day. Ren Wan Yun hoped that this would grind down Shen Miao’s stubborn temperament and also to prevent additional accidents from happening. Today was Old Shen Furen’s birthday banquet and if Shen Miao was released, one was afraid that she would say something shocking in front of everyone, thus after a discussion with Old Shen Furen, it was decided that Shen Miao was not allowed to appear in front of everyone.
Thinking of Shen Miao, made Ren Wan Yun’s head start to ache. She has been in a big household for so many years, but now she was unable to know what a little girl is even thinking about. To say Shen Miao was an idiot, but she was able to quietly calculated everyone on Shen Qing’s matter. To say she was calm, but she showed off her military strength. There was no choice other than to lock her up.
After Chen Rou Qiu appreciated Ren Wan Yun’s marvellous expression, she said with a smile, “Qing-er’s health is still not good and it is not convenient for her to come out. Most probably after Old Furen’s birthday then she will come out. Miao-er is infected by an illness and cannot be in contact with wind as there are rashes on her face. There are so many young ladies present and one is afraid that it would be spread to the young ladies, so she stayed in the room.”
If one were to say that Shen Miao was ill, then it is inevitable that people would go and visit out of curiosity, but if one were to say that this illness could be spread out, then no one would be interested to ask about Shen Miao. Especially since young ladies were concerned of beauty, how would they take such a big risk just to visit her.
Jiang Xiao Xuan’s mother, Jiang Furen, also laughed and spoke with some probing, “So it is like this. I still thought that it was because both young ladies were busy embroidering wedding dresses that they would not even be willing to see us. Wan Yun must take care of the young ladies so that in the future when they get married, matters would not be delayed.” After saying those words, it attracted a crowd of women who started echoing them.
The rumours of the marriage proposals of the Wei and Huang families were spread out in the Ding capital and it created an uproar, but unfortunately the Shen family did not confirm anything. This made one felt somewhat strange, and there were a number of people who tried to sound them out. It was still a mystery as to exactly which young lady would be married to which gentleman. Now that Jiang Furen asked, everyone would like to hear the truth about this marriage uproar.
Ren Wan Yun’s eyes flashed and naturally she knew Jiang Furen’s intention. She smiled, “How can it be. Even if one is busy embroidering one’s wedding dress, it is Old Furen’s birthday. Thus it is still necessary to come out due to filial piety. If both children were not sick, why would they not come out to meet all of the Furens present?”
The words were structured like a play and actually admitted the matter on the marriage.
The Furens that were present are used to seeing happenings in the inner courtyard and could hear Ren Wan Yun’s intentions. In a moment, congratulations fell incessantly as Old Shen Furen caressed Shen Yuan Bo’s loving face with the appearance of a pleased host.
In Qiu Shui Yuan, there was a group of young females that were currently gathering. They were playing chess and cards on the green stone table as they ate snacks and chatted leisurely.
“Speaking of which, Yue-er,” Jiang Xiao Xuan said, “Those older sister and younger sister of yours have not been seen even till today. Could it be that they are really sick?”
“They are truly sick.” Shen Yue shook her head and there was a trace of concern in her eyes, “Eldest Sister’s illness is much better but Fifth Younger Sister’s illness is somewhat serious, and even her personal maids were infected by the rash on her face.” She continued, “Thus you all would not even met her personal maids today.”
“No wonder.” Bai Wei suddenly realised, “There are so many people guarding outside the West courtyard but one do not see anyone coming out. It should be that those servants in the courtyard are also afraid it will spread to others. Did not Gentleman Pei mentioned before that in some areas that were infected by plague, the sick would be isolated to prevent it from spreading everywhere?”
“It is exactly this reasoning.” Shen Yue said.
Yi Pei Lan touched her own shoulders and shuddered, “This is really scary, it better not infect us.”
“Rest assure.” Shen Yue laughed, “As long as one do not go to the Western courtyard, naturally it would be safe. Look at this, aren’t I not infected?”
“You are sure big-hearted and easy-going to stay with such a younger sister like this.” Yi Pei Lan’s lips twitched, “This Shen Miao is just like a bad luck charm and keep having such things happening around her.”
At the other side, Feng An Ning’s eyes flashed in anger but she suppressed it and cursed softly, “Do not know if this is bringing hate to Shen Miao or just being hateful. What an act.”
Naturally her words were talking about Shen Yue.
Qing Qin coldly snorted in front of Feng An Ning. She still had a look of arrogance, but her eyes that were looking at Shen Yue were filled with contempt.
Between the two of them, currently Feng An Ning relationship with Shen Miao was considered not bad, so naturally Shen Yue would exclude her. However for Qing Qin, as she was born with beauty and was proud, and moreover she was considered as Shen Yue’s opponent, thus Qing Qin would naturally ignore her when Shen Yue came over to greet the various young ladies. Thus due to a combinations of many factors, both of them sat together.
“Who would know if it is an illness.” Qing Qin all along did not cover up her disdain for Shen Yue. When these words were heard by Feng An Ning, she immediately said, “So you also feel that way. How about we go to see Shen Miao.”
“I do not have any friendly relations with her. If you want to go, then go by yourself. Qing Qin rejected without the slightest hesitation and also added one sentence, “But the Western courtyard of the Shen residence does not allow others to enter, as they are afraid that one will be infected with a rash, so most likely you will also be unable to enter.”
“How can it be like this.” Feng An Ning felt indignant about it, “All are the granddaughters of the Shen residence, on what basis Shen Miao cannot participate in Old Shen Furen’s birthday celebration and why lock her up alone in the West courtyard? What is the difference between this and been thrown into prison?”
“It is better that you do not meddle in the affairs of others.” Qing Qin swept her eyes across Feng An Ning, “Anyways it has nothing to do with you or me.”
Feng An Ning bit her lips unwillingly but she was unable to speak of the reason why. She just stood on the spot, staring bitterly at Shen Yue who was being surrounded by people who were talking cheerfully.
But no one saw that in the shade of the trees, a silhouette flashed and quickly disappeared into the flower bushes.
The Northwest corner of the Shen residence was a barren courtyard, this was because the terrain was not good and there were lots of weeds growing, so it was abandoned. Other than the occasional birds that flew over and some wild cats dwelling in it, there was no one that usually came over.
However there stood a few people today.
The person who was leading had his back facing the garden, and one did not know what that person was deeply thinking about. Someone behind spoke, “Master, this subordinate passed by the Eastern courtyard and heard that there were people guarding the Western courtyard.”
But another person said, “This subordinate had investigated that there were only people guarding outside the Western courtyard but there were no other guards on the ground. However there were many skilled people guarding outside the ancestral hall of Shen residence. Could it be…”
“Declaration for the East and strike the West (means to misdirect).” That person turned his head and a handsome face was revealed, “The thing is in the ancestral hall of Shen residence.”