My apologies for the the slightly late edited chapter…
Edited by Tnyhy
Chapter 122: Two Years Later (Part 2)
Coincidentally, at this end they were speaking about the person Shen Miao was interested in, at the other end, there was someone who brought up about Shen Miao’s marriage.
In the small room, Madam Ma, Madam Yu and Luo Xue Yan were chatting. It was different from the Shen residence in the Ding capital, as the married women in the Luo family got along very well together. Madam Yu was gentle and warm, Madam Ma is bold and vigorous and Luo Xue Yan had the character of a General and was direct in her words. When the three of them were together, they got along extremely harmoniously in these two years.
Madam Yu’s hand was holding an invitation as she said to Luo Xue Yan, “This is the invitation from Zhang Furen in the city, inviting us to go to the Zhang residence for a visit.” Speaking till there, she hesitated before continuing, “And also to bring along Jiao Jiao.”
When Madam Ma heard this she laughed, “I say, normally that Zhang Furen relied that there was a XieYuan (title of the first place candidate in the provincial Imperial examinations) from her residence, and disdained us military people. How would that kind of people with eyes on top of their heads send us invitations? So the wine-lover’s heart is not in the cup, she is here for Jiao Jiao.” Madam Ma nudged Luo Xue Yan, “Youngest Gu, currently Jiao Jiao have more prestige than our Father.”
As Shen Miao got older, she became even more beautiful, and there was a number of people in the Xiao Chun City, who came to inquire about Shen Miao’s marriage. Previously, everyone did not understand the character of the Ding capital’s young ladies, and thinking of the rumours, they were afraid that she was a spoiled young lady. Who knew that during these two years, Shen Miao’s showed she was calm and sweet-tempered, comparing to those impetuous young ladies, she was more compatible to the tastes of those Furens. In particular, that kind of gentle and magnanimous bearing, it made others cannot help but think that if Shen Miao became the matriarch of the household, she would definitely be able to keep the entire household in control. Coupled with Shen Miao’s good looks and the famous reputation of the Luo family in the Xiao Chun City, the fact that Luo family’s army was revived in these two years, made the Luo family very popular, and those matchmakers who came, almost trampled the front doors of the Luo residence.
Speaking of this, Madam Ma was half jealous and half envious, “It is really good for a hundred request for a female in a family, unlike my Tan-er. Such a grown Young Lady and still acting wilfully. Do not talk about marriage requests, there is not even a single matchmaking. If this goes on, could it be that she will be a spinster?” Madam Ma only said it as a joke but who knew that as she spoke, she became a bit worried.
Luo Xue Yan consoled, “Tan-er has a lively temperament and that is really good. There will always be a suitable person, so what is Sao Zi anxious about. As you had said, Jiao Jiao had just reached sixteen and no matter how much one look, she was even more reserved than a sixty year old married woman. This temperament is not like mine or her Father’s. Really do not know who does she take after.”
“Youngest Gu, what is to worry about.” Madam Ma was between laughter and tears, “There is not many young ladies like Jiao Jiao. Look at her presence and bearing, no matter how she sits, everyone would say that she is noble. If it is to me, even the Ladyships in the Palace would not be like this. So this is saying that Jiao Jiao’s bearing is inborn.”
“Correct.” Madam Yu also praised, “DiMei (aka Younger Brother-in-law’s wife) and I had been staying in the Xiao Chun City for so many years, and have seen that those elderlies in the aristocratic families definitely do not have bearings like Jiao Jiao’s.”
Luo Xue Yan shook her head and sighed. Even though she was obedient and sensible, but to be that solemn at such a young age, it made one feel worried. Luo Xue Yan would rather Shen Miao be like Luo Tan and have a lively temperament, and watch the bustle as this was what a young female would be like.
“Having said that.” Madam Yu said resolutely, “Jiao Jiao is sixteen this year. If one do not return to the Ding capital, sooner or later one would need to marry. Does Youngest Gu have anyone suitable in mind? Previously, Jiao Jiao was young of age but now she is sixteen and it is the age to discuss about engagement. Now with every family in the Xiao Chun City wanting to marry Jiao Jiao, does Youngest Gu not have a favourite?”
Luo Xue Yan was startled. She was used to being casual and previously, when she got together with Shen Xin, it was her bold and active choice. She had never considered how would it be like for normal females to see the other side. Thus when she first heard about it from Madam Yu, she was somewhat stunned. After a moment Luo Xue Yan then said, “Will need to see Jiao Jiao’s intention about this.”
“Such a young lady like Jiao Jiao, Youngest Gu is really willing to bear for her to marry others?” Madam Ma sighed, “So smart and good tempered, and her temperament make others dote. If it is me, one would definitely not willing to marry her off and even raise her the entire life.” It was different from the Ding capital’s aristocratic families, the people in the Xiao Chun City would not find that it was good for females to marry as early as possible but on the contrary, they felt that it was more valuable for a female to stay in the residence. Madam Ma said, “Speaking of which, Ling-er and Sa-er have also reached the age to marry. Why not let Jiao Jiao marry into our own family.” Madam Ma sounded it out.
She thought it out in a whim, but Madam Yu’s eyes brightened when she heard this. For the first time that usually soft and gentle voice could not wait but spoke, “Then that is alright. I see that Ling-er and Sa-er both rather like Jiao Jiao, especially Sa-er. You all know that Sa-er does not have patience with young ladies at all, but in these two years he always run to Jiao Jiao’s room. Their cousin relationship is very good and I know my son clearly, Sa-er’s heart definitely likes Jiao Jiao.”
Luo Xue Yan opened her mouth but before she could speak, she saw Madam Yu shook her head, “But Sa-er’s has an impulsive character and does not know how to dote others. If Jiao Jiao were to marry over, I fear that she may feel wronged as that boy has wood for a brain. It is still Ling-er that is better, Ling-er has a gentle and warm temperament and is a little older, and both cousins even went for a travel outing before. Speaking of which, these years there is a number of matchmatchers that came to ask for Ling-er but he was not interested, so it was not good for me to say anything. Ling-er definitely also likes Jiao Jiao, else he would not go and look for Jiao Jiao to chat once he is off military duties.”
Madam Yu only cared about her words, making Madam Ma sitting by the side unhappy and was not willing to be outdone, “Eldest Sao, how can such a thing count. From what you say, our family’s Qian-er’s age matches with Jiao Jiao. They have the same age and play well together and even though Qian-er is somewhat mischievous, but he is very considerate and it is the best for Jiao Jiao to have such a camaraderie. And there is also my family’s Tan-er, is not it just nice for Tan-er and Qiu-er to be a couple? Like this it will be cementing old ties by marriage.” Finishing Madam Ma looked at Luo Xue Yan, “Youngest Gu, what do you think?”
Luo Xue Yan, “…”
Both pairs of ardent eyes looked at her as Luo Xue Yan bit the bullet and said, “This still depends on the children’s intention.” She did not expect that Madam Ma and Madam Yu had such thoughts but after Luo Xue Yan carefully thought about it, she did not think it was bad. First of all, they were all family and the younger generation of the Luo family had moral quality and not a bad appearance. It was exactly the ‘not too high official position, not too big a wealth and the most important thing was to treat Shen Miao well, and put Shen Miao in his heart’ that she liked. She also went through the spring of youth, so not to mention Shen Qiu, among the sons of the Luo family, Luo Ling’s gentleness, Luo Sa’s bravery and Luo Qian’s liveliness and the most important thing was being good hearted. If Shen Miao is alright with any one of them, the future would only be sweet and not bitter.
However, Luo Xue Yan would still look towards Shen Miao’s intention. She also did not know what Shen Miao exactly liked, as she initially thought that Shen Miao liked those like Fu Xiu Yi but in these two years, Shen Miao have never mentioned Fu Xiu Yi, so she gradually calmed down. But since her daughter was one who have such a solemn character, it was worrisome for Luo Xue Yan.
“Why not find an opportunity to ask Jiao Jiao’s intention?” Madam Ma hurriedly spoke, “If Jiao Jiao is really interested in anyone in our family, no matter which one, it is already our Luo family’s luck and fortune. It is good to quickly settle the marriage, sons borns will be clever and daughters born will definitely be pretty.”
Luo Xue Yan was somewhat embarrassed by her words and rebuked, “Sao Sao, where is the logic on the youngest getting married first.”
Madam Ma waved her hands, “I am afraid that Jiao Jiao would be taken away by the early bird.”
Just as the topic turned to a joyous one, suddenly a servant came to report, “Furen, the Palace had sent word and the General request Furens to quickly go to the front hall.”
“Did not the people from the Palace just left? Why come over to give rewards again?” Madam Ma casually asked as she got up.
“It seems that it is to recall Shen GuYe (GuYe is usually the title given to the family son-in-law, in this case it is Shen Xin) back to the capital.” That servant replied.
Luo Xue Yan’s actions stiffened.
The front hall of the Luo residence had become a ball of chaos.
It was not that the actions of the people that were in chaos, but the hearts and minds that were in a whirl. Emperor Wen Hui’s Imperial edict indicate for Shen Xin to return to the capital with his dependents, and resume his Formidable Great General title. This pointed out that the Shen family army’s military tally would be returned to Shen Xin.
Emperor Wen Hui gave Shen Xin a slap in front of the entire world two years ago, and now made it so large scale to give a mammoth sweet date to eat. But whether Shen Xin was willing to eat this sweet date was another matter in itself.
Luo Sui sat on the highest seat. For the past two years, due to the worries on the restructuring of the Luo family’s army, there were more white roots in his hair but his prestige was not less than the previous year. Perhaps it was because of the return of his fighting spirits, he now seemed more like a mighty General. He said, “The tribute for Ming Qi is going to start. The Emperor wants you to return back to the capital, and want you to return before the start of the tribute.”
The tribute of a hundred years. Every dynasty would have a tribute ceremony in a hundred years, and the previous tribute that Ming Qi had, the Qin country almost exploited a loophole. At that time the Late Emperor relied on the Xie and Shen families, and barely survived it. Now other than the Qing country, even the Great Liang had come.
If one were to say that the Qing country made the Ming Qi feel dread, the Great Liang would be enough to have a firm hold on Ming Qi. The Great Liang was located at the southern area, the country was powerful and rich, with strong troops and sturdy horses. Emperor Yong Le was a wise sovereign of a generation, and it was different from the Ming Qi’s pandemonium Imperial court, as the Great Liang court appoint people according to their merits, and there were even more loyal subjects. If the Great Liang was ambitious, it was a matter of sooner or later that the Ming Qi would be swallowed, but not sure what reasons Emperor Yong Le had that there was no attempts of it. Of course, there was another possibility, that Emperor Yong Le want to exterminate both the Qing and the Ming Qi countries together, and unify everything under the skies.
Those long divided should be united, those long united should be divided, such was the way of the universe. The three separate countries of Qing, Liang and Qi would eventually break. It was just that one did not know when that time would come, and Emperor Wen Hui was not willing to see this day while he is still alive. But after Xie Jing Xing of the Xie family died, Xie Ding had no interest to govern, and the remaining Shen family also had their military tally taken away, and chased out to the Xiao Chun City.
No one knew if Emperor Wen Hui regretted it, but right now Emperor Wen Hui hoped that Shen Xin could hold up the front. In particular, Shen Xin had helped Luo Sui to restructure the Luo family’s army, and showed everyone Shen Xin’s outstanding military capabilities.
Emperor Wen Hui was stating clearly one thing: Ming Qi needed Shen Xin.
When needed one would appear and when not needed, one should quietly withdraw. Perhaps previously, Shen Xin would have such awareness but after Shen Xin had been treated by the Imperial family that heartlessly, he no longer was that selfless. A true gentleman would sacrifice his life for a confidant who understands him, but how was the Ming Qi’s Imperial family to be considered as such a confidant.
“You ought to return back.” Luo Sui said, “Shen Xin, go and take all the things that you have lost back. Show it to them what kind of person the Luo family’s son-in-law and Shen family’s son is like.”
Shen Miao suddenly looked up.
She had long expected that after two year, Emperor Wen Hui would recall Shen Xin back to the capital, and also expected that the Ding capital’s situation would have undergone tremendous changes, but did not expect that the usually old-fashioned Old General Luo would actually say such treacherous words.
She slightly widened her eyes and this was seen by Luo Sui. But Luo Sui smiled and looked at her, “Girl, you also think so. Am I right?”
Everyone’s eyes in the hall fell onto Shen Miao. Even Luo Lian Ying’s and Luo Lian Tai’s expressions slightly changed, but at the end they did not say anything.
Shen Miao sighed in her heart. Her thoughts on this could not be concealed from Luo Sui, such a powerful old veteran General. Luo Sui had a pair of sharp and all reading eyes, and perhaps from the very beginning and from the restructuring of the Luo family’s army, he had faintly guessed what kind of intention she was playing at.
She was thankful of Luo Sui’s trust and support. The feeling of having family support was very good. Shen Miao looked at Luo sui and the corners of her lips hooked up, “Yes, WaiGong.” (From the way Shen Miao call Luo Sui, it has become more closer in terms of relationship. WaiZu -> Very formal; WaiGong -> Very close, aka this is what one would use to whine to grandfather)
Luo Sui laughed out loud, he then looked at Shen Miao and there was a smile floating in his eyes, as the corners of his lips hooked up. Luo Tan and Luo Qian looked at one another and were somewhat puzzled with this.
Luo Xue Yan’s and Shen Qiu’s eyes had a complex expression. They had left the capital for two years, and now had to go back.
Go and take all the things, troops and reputation, that one had lost.
One had to let them see what the true Shen family was all about. A tiger would not become a dog when it drift and fall off a cliff. A dragon that was submerged in water would finally soar into the Ninth Heavens one day.
Shen Xin cupped his hands towards Luo Sui and said, “Solemnly obey General’s teachings.”