Edited by Tnyhy & Angel
Chapter 156: Marriage (Part 1)
After a few days of snow in the Ding capital, the weather finally cleared up.
Shen Miao was in the courtyard airing some books. They were all the military books that Shen Qiu brought over, and one feared that mold would grow after being placed in the room for a long period of time, thus they were being exposed to the sun. Jing Zhe and Gu Yu were sun-drying the beddings as Jing Zhe spoke, “One heard that the Chen and Shen families’ lawsuit is very lively and many people are watching it. Now that it has dragged on for so long, one does not know what the final result would be.”
“What other result can there be? It is strenuous and unrewarding for both sides.” Gu Yu said in disdain, “To bring matters of the family up in court is a ridicule. Fortunately Master and Furen had separated earlier on from them, else one fears that it would be them implicated in it.”
Chen Rou Qiu’s maiden family and the Shen family were fighting in a lawsuit.
The Chen Master was an old man that was very stubborn and one who cared about his face a lot, hence he was unwilling to lose. He would contend to get out of the predicament and would not let himself be the losing side.
Only when ghost filled the air, could the spiritual master come in. Even though Chen Rou Qiu was married, Chen Master had to protect Chen Rou Qiu’s reputation, not because he doted on her, but because he would not allow the Shen family to belittle the Chen family like this. Chen Rou Qiu’s mother however was a powerful one. As she doted on Chen Rou Qiu, she convinced the Chen Master with a few words, and wanted to fight with the Shen family in a lawsuit.
The Chen family believed that Chen Rou Qiu was conscientious after marrying into the Shen family, and helped Shen Wan to manage the family. She even brought in a concubine for Shen Wan but he himself declined. Chen Rou Qiu had married into the Shen residence for so many years and everyone outside knew that she was educated, reasonable, gentle and graceful. Now with a sudden appearance of a female of dubious background, Shen Wan then wanted to divorce his wife, this was just spoiling the concubine too much and neglecting one’s wife.
The Shen family’s theory was that even though Chen Rou Qiu was the matriarch of the family, she was unable to give birth to sons and did not think of bringing in a few concubines to spread out the branches. Now that the husband had brought someone in, she still blocked it, she was really very jealous.
One said the mother-in-law was merciless, the other said that the daughter-in-law was not filial. This was just a huge stage of farce that made everyone in the Ding capital watch in relish.
In the end, the lawsuit was brought to the government offices, but they rarely handled such types of lawsuits. Moreover this lawsuit was not a big deal, but the Master of the Chen family was a document official of the administrative division and Shen Wan’s rank was not low either, thus one could not offend either side and the matter could only be dragged on.
For Shen Wan and Chen Rou Qiu to be in court, the husband and wife relationship could be regarded as having ended. First it was because Shen Wan was after all an official and to be in a lawsuit due to family matters, those censors who did not have much to do would definitely not let it off, thus Shen Wan’s career would be affected by this. Second was because Chang Zai Qin was currently pregnant.
It was timely that Chang Zai Qing was pregnant at this time, because for her to be pregnant at this juncture, it was as good as pushing Chen Rou Qiu out. Even though Shen Wan had been affectionate with Chen Rou Qiu for so many years, it did not meant that he really did not have expectations for a son. If Chang Zai Qing was really carrying a son then he would have an heir to carry down the ancestral line. Because of that whenever he would see Chang Zai Qing, he would feel that it was good, and did not even take a look at the thrown away rotten cloth.
Shen Miao smiled gently, “Better not forget to bribe the Darens with money.”
Gu Yu complied but was somewhat in doubt as she asked, “Does Young Lady want to help Third Master or Third Furen? The money is used for which side?”
Shen Miao let Gu Yu bring money to bribe the people in the government offices, but she did not know who the money was for, as Shen Miao did not let her read the letter.
Gu Yu said softly, “It is better to not be mixed in this matter. There is not a good person in that family.”
Although her voice was soft, it was heard by Shen Miao. Shen Miao then said, “Neither side is.”
The case of lawsuit was something that burned money the most. When the poor pursued a lawsuit, it would be judged very quickly as they had nothing. But if one had a little family fortune, then one can last for a few more days. The people in the government offices would need to fish money out so the longer the lawsuit was, the more the government offices could fish.
When Shen Miao was in the Palace in the last lifetime, she had seen Fu Xiu Yi dealing with an official. That official was previously Prince Zhou’s people so when Fu Xiu Yi wanted to deal with him, he could not openly do it, thus he schemed for that official to be embroiled in a lawsuit, which caused him to become bankrupt.
The places that required the most amount of money were the government offices and medical halls. With regards to the Shen and Chen families, Shen Miao only needed to think about how both Shen Wan and Chen Rou Qiu poured in all their energy and framed the Eldest household of the Shen family, thus she became very eager to shred these two pretentious people.
Was this not the same as slipping down from Heavens, when the originally gentle and refined husband and wife now wanted to oppose one another in court? Moreover Shen Miao forked out some money herself to remind the people in the government to drag the case much longer. Not to make one bankrupt, but let both the Shen and Chen families be greatly undermined. Moreover Shen Wan and Chen Rou Qiu were two people who wanted face, so this time it would be impossible for both of them to reconcile.
There was nothing more satisfying than this.
Shen Miao’s gaze gradually became cold. She had not expected that Chang Zai Qing would be pregnant this time… Thinking of the role Chang Zai Qing played in Luo Xue Yan’s death, Shen Miao could not help but sneer.
She said, “Call Mo Qing over. Let him go and find some people to receive someone in the Liu Province.”
There was not only Chang Zai Qing in Liu Province. Naturally there was still Chang Zai Qing’s husband and son there. In the previous lifetime, Chang Zai Qing destroyed Luo Xue Yan and lived a number of days with no worries of food and clothes before her background was torn off, but now she would be the one tearing it off this background.
Inevitably one had to make some jokes of the farce in the Third household.
When Shen Miao was thinking about the Third household, Shen Wan was in the residence of Prince Ding.
In the turmoil of the fight between the Princes for the heir apparent, Shen Wan was a smart person and did not pick his position. The Crown Prince was legitimate but was sickly and weak. Prince Zhou had his Consort Mother’s favour but was rampant in his actions, and then there was Prince Li who had a network of relations but was unable to gain Emperor Wen Hui’s favour. It was only Prince Ding’s clique that looked like he was uninterested with the Imperial throne.
However, Shen Wan had the intuition that Fu Xiu Yi was not as uninterested with the Imperial throne as he appeared to be. And this made Shen Wan concerned instead, but now that the Shen residence had fallen into misfortune continuously after Shen Xin’s return, even Shen Wan felt there was some calamitous air. His career path looked more difficult and one feared that no one wanted him among the other Princes. At such a time, he thought about Fu Xiu Yi.
In the early years where Shen Xin had not separated from the family, Fu Xiu Yi treated Shen Wan rather well and his words be it hidden or not, would have the intention of drawing him over. Shen Wan of course understood that Fu Xiu Yi was targeting Shen Xin’s military power, but at that time he had a selection of choices and thus had put it off. Afterwards Fu Xiu Yi understood his intentions and was no longer that enthusiastic.
Now that the Shen family had fallen and was no longer like before, if Shen Wan still wanted to protect his career and flourish on… In addition, Chang Zai Qing might be able to give birth to a son for him, Shen Wan’s previous thoughts had become an intention to try it out.
Riches and honour came with risk, and the greatest wealth would come with the greatest risk. However he still wanted to try.
Thus Shen Wan finally went to the residence of Prince Ding. He had finally made his choice. Shen Wan felt that it was somewhat funny, if he had made this choice a little earlier, perhaps Shen Yue would not have needed to marry to the Wang family, and there would have been no need to exchange marriages or running away from home. Shen Yue could even win over Fu Xiu Yi’s heart. But if Shen Yue did not exchange her marriage, perhaps he and Chen Rou Qiu would not have come to this stage and Chang Zai Qing would not be pregnant, thus he would not seek out Prince Ding.
The events of the world arise from many causes, and fate was fond of making fun of people.
Fu Xiu Yi sat on the main position and instructed people to pour tea for Shen Wan. There was no need of courtesy words as one knew the main purpose of this visit. Fu Xiu Yi smiled mildly, “Shen Daren is busy with domestic affairs of the family, so what is with the sudden visit?”
Shen Wan was at a loss. Currently Chen Rou Qiu and his matter was such a ruckus that the entire court knew about it. His colleagues looked at him with an expression of watching a joke, and this was a painful torment for Shen Wan who cared for his image a lot.
Shen Wan said, “This official is willing to serve Your Highness wholeheartedly!”
When Fu Xiu Yi heard this, he only smiled but did not continue the topic, one was not sure if he had believed Shen Wan’s words or not. There were only the two of them and some servants in the hall, and as such a silence gradually strained the atmosphere, and beads of cold sweat started forming on Shen Wan’s forehead.
One did not know how long the silence went on until, and Shen Wan felt that his entire body was soaked with sweat, then he heard Fu Xiu Yi voice, “But now Shen Xin has moved away from the residence, so what can you do?”
Shen Wan’s heard thumped. Fu Xiu Yi was indeed targeting Shen Xin.
Initially when the Second household had not declined, Shen Wan had guessed that Shen Yuan was helping Fu Xiu Yi on secret matters. But what could Fu Xiu Yi let Shen Yuan do? Fu Xiu Yi had recruited Shen Yuan when he was young and it was inadequate for it to be only talent. Afterwards Shen Wan had thought it out, it is most likely because it was convenient for Shen Yuan to monitor Shen Xin, or it was to do some tricks in Shen Xin’s official matters.
But afterwards Shen Yuan died and Fu Xiu Yi was short of someone like Shen Yuan. Much afterwards, Shen Xin simply went to the Xiao Chun City and this person was not needed.
Who knew that two years later Shen Xin would return to the capital with more power and he definitely became a thorn in Fu Xiu Yi’s eyes.
Shen Wan said cautiously, “Even though the residences are different, after all we are still brothers. If Your Highness has instructions, this official will definitely do one’s best.”
“Good.” Fu Xiu Yi said, “This Prince appreciates people of talent and also believes in Daren’s abilities. Lately there is just this one matter. Since Shen Daren coincidentally met with me today, then one would not bother others and as this matter is all about one’s family, thus one believe that Shen Daren will do it well.”
Shen Wan felt somewhat uneasy. Fu Xiu Yi’s words clearly meant that he would be giving him a difficult problem and if it was done well, naturally he would be Fu Xiu Yi’s people but if he could not do well, he would not be able to prove that he was a ‘person of talent’, and would be ruthlessly abandoned by Fu Xiu Yi. And all the consequences that this difficult problem would have, Shen Wan must bear all of it.
This was a transaction.
Shen Wan’s heart dropped, “May Your Highness instruct!”
Fu Xiu Yi looked at him satisfied, “The matter is not difficult. This Prince knows that General Shen has a Di daughter, Fifth Shen Young Lady, that he loves like precious jewels. Currently the Fifth Shen Young Lady should have reached the age of marriage.”
Shen Wan violently raised his head up!
Initially when Shen Miao was chasing Fu Xiu Yi and indicated that she wanted to marry him, he did not even look at Shen Miao seriously. Occasionally when the other Princes or officials brought it out, he would have an annoyed look on. After all, it was a rather shameful matter for a Prince to be admired by such a fool and idiot. But now… Shen Wan’s heart started thumping. Shen Miao had grown pretty and her temperament had gradually became calmer, losing the previous appearance of an idiot, becoming one of the ideal noble Young Ladies in the Ding capital. If Fu Xiu Yi were to have the intention to marry Shen Miao… With the current ill relations between the Eldest and Third household of the Shen family, once Shen Miao had power, she would definitely suppress him.
Be it official or private matters, the better Shen Miao was, and the better the Eldest household of the Shen family was, the more in danger Shen Wan would be! He did not want Shen Miao to go higher, and hoped that Shen Miao would sink as low as dust!
Shen Wan suppressed those harsh thoughts and said, “Your Highness… Want to marry Fifth Lady?”