Edited by Larkspur
Chapter 28: Husband Criteria
“What sort of husband are you looking for?”
Chu Jin Yao was a young lady, thus when asked about such a matter, she was embarrassed. She glared at Qin Yi, somewhat awkward, “Why are you asking about this?”
“I just want to understand.” Qin Yi urged on, “Quickly speak of it.”
When Chu Jin Yao saw that Qin Yi’s expression did not seem to be fake, she considered it carefully and had a thoughtful look on, “My future husband… I would not ask for him to be wealthy or noble, but only ask for him to be able to accompany me. Yes. His temperament must be gentle, cannot be fierce to me, cannot look down upon me and if I did something wrong, he cannot just approach me, and say I am wrong.”
When Chu Jin Yao was speaking, she was thinking of the Su family. The Su family was where she grew up and its environment had a great influence on her. Father Su was a violent person and would scold and beat his wife whenever he was unhappy and afterwards Mother Su would take it out on Chu Jin Yao and Su Hui. Chu Jin Yao had been determined since young that she would definitely marry a totally different person from Father Su. The other had to be gentle and kind yet his heart should be resolute and unyielding.
But as Qin Yi listened, he felt that her words, was it not Lin Xi Yuan? Chu Jin Yao was only thirteen and had started to yearn for spring (love)?
Thus, he said, “You are only that big. With such a young age, one cannot keep thinking of these things.”
Chu Jin Yao became angry, “Wasn’t it you who asked me? Now you are saying it is me?”
The matter between Chu Jin Yao and Chu Jin Miao made a splash in the deep and bottomless inner courtyard and quickly disappeared. Everyone turned a blind eye to what happened in the rear room that day, pretending they did not know what had happened. As for Chu Jin Miao’s inexplicable confinement, no one paid any attention to it at all.
Only Madam Zhao nagged at Chu Jin Miao with heartache, “Why did your ZuMu confine you when you are perfectly fine? To even instruct you to copy Women Doctrine. Your hands have yet to recover!”
Chu Jin Miao smiled stiffly. She looked carefully at Madam Zhao’s expression and after ensuring that Madam Zhao did not know the truth, she then said with slight relief, “Mother, it is alright. ZuMu is an elder so since she punished me to copy books, then she must have her reasons.”
Madam Zhao hesitated again. During this period of time, the only thing that could be related to Chu Jin Miao would be the event that happened in the rear room. It was very disgraceful for Chu Jin Miao to throw things around publicly, but she was also hurt by someone’s harsh words and was provoked! Even if Old Chu Furen were to punish, why was Chu Jin Miao punished alone? Madam Zhao speculated that most likely Chu Jin Yao had gone to beg Chu Jin Xian who then went to say some things to Old Chu Furen, thus Chu Jin Miao was confined.
Madam Zhao sighed. She had originally thought that it was a blessing to have more daughters, but now her eldest daughter was helping her youngest daughter to target Chu Jin Miao, making Madam Zhao’s heart feel complicated. That day, after Chu Jin Yao had a chat with her, Zhang Momo also said that Madam Zhao neglected Chu Jin Yao too much. Madam Zhao initially did not think that she was in the wrong but everyone around her said the same thing. Thus, Madam Zhao could only treat Chu Jin Yao and Chu Jin Miao the same on the surface but secretly gave Chu Jin Miao more benefits.
Madam Zhao accompanied Chu Jin Miao a while before leaving. Not long after Madam Zhao left, Second Young Master arrived.
When Chu Jin Miao heard the person reporting, she said hurriedly, “Second Older Brother has arrived? Quickly let him in!”
Even though Second Young Master was second in rank, he was the Di-son of the Eldest Household and the only Di-brother in the family. Young ladies were all down with an older brother complex and Second Young Master was Di-born and oldest, thus he would be inheriting the residence of Marquis of Chang Xing. Be it relations, Second Young Master was the eldest brother. Or be it rationally, the young ladies would be married off and needed Second Young Master to support them when they were at their in-laws. Under these two reasonings, the sisters in the family would like to be close to Second Young Master.
When Second Young Master heard that Chu Jin Miao was confined, he especially came over to visit this younger sister and pick something up on the way.
After Second Young Master entered the room, Chu Jin Miao happily ran over and hugged Second Young Master’s arm affectionately.
“Second Older Brother, why did you think of visiting me only now? Have you forgotten about me?”
“No, how can it be?” Second Young Master smiled dotingly at her, “I am busy these days but upon hearing about your matter, I rushed back. Why are you grounded?”
Upon hearing that sentence, Chu Jin Yao’s face sank and she let go of Second Young Master’s hand before giving a long groan, “What else can it be? It is that I have offended ZuMu and got punished.”
As soon as Second Young Master heard it, he knew that his younger sister was throwing a small tantrum. He softened his tone of voice and spoke to Chu Jin Miao, “What is the specific reason? Tell me clearly and I will ask ZuMu for mercy.”
Chu Jin Miao waved her hand quickly, “Second Older Brother, don’t ask. Even if you find out, there is nothing you can do. ZuMu doesn’t like me now, so if you intercede for me, you might even be disciplined by ZuMu. Forget about it, anyways I am not a real genuine Young Lady of the Marquis residence. If by me suffering some grievances, you all as a family would be harmonious, that would be good.”
Second Young Master did not like her speaking as such. He frowned and spoke in a slightly aggravated tone, “Miao-er…”
Chu Jin Miao lowered her head and after a long time, she said softly, “Second Older Brother, don’t ask anymore, I do not want to speak of these things, else ZuMu would be angry about me creating disputes and misunderstandings.”
When Second Young Master heard it, he hesitated before sighing finally, “Alright. Since you are not willing to speak, then forget about it. Just endure it for a few days and when ZuMu’s anger has subsided, I will speak to ZuMu and let her release you.”
Chu Jin Miao initially had a bitter expression but upon hearing Second Young Master’s words, she became happy and spoke sweetly, “Thanking Older Brother.”
Second Young Master also smiled, “You are still the same as when you were young and have a childish temperament. By the way, I came over today to see you and collect that New Account of the Tales of the World. A few days ago, you borrowed it to take a look, have you finished reading it?”
When Chu Jin Miao thought about the book, she asked curiously, “Why is Second Older Brother in a hurry? Is there any urgent need?”
“There is none.” Second Young Master said, “It is just that Father instructed me to read these well so that in the future when the Crown Prince comes to TaiYuan, perhaps it would be of use.”
Upon hearing the Crown Prince, Chu Jin Miao’s ears perked up and she asked probingly, “The Crown Prince?”
“Yes.” Second Young Master smiled gently and warmly, “You shouldn’t know it yet but the Crown Prince might perhaps settle down in TaiYuan for a while. He likes to read about the world and talk about new terms. Thus, Father instructed me to prepare in advance.”
Chu Jin Miao gave a thoughtful reply, “Oh.” She had bribed the maid by Deng Momo’s side and knew that Deng Momo valued this book, thus she’d borrowed it from Second Young Master beforehand. Unexpectedly, the reason why Deng Momo valued it was because the Crown Prince liked it.
Chu Jin Miao asked, “Why would the Crown Prince like these?”
“I do not know either. The Crown Prince does not like reading books that are in the Imperial Examinations. Instead, he likes books from the previous Wei and Jin dynasties. These are not secrets of the courts and can be enquired if one puts in more effort.” Actually, Second Young Master was rather helpless about it. As he was not healthy and did not particularly like the current trend of essay and instead liked the discussions of abstract theory or guiding principles. From others’ perspective, they would always feel that he was catering to the Crown Prince’s likings but he was wronged.
Although the residence of Marquis of Chang Xing and the residence of the Prince of Huai Ling were in-laws, the prospects and status of both families were completely different. The founding Emperor of this dynasty was a commoner and depended on military achievements to climb up to the Imperial position. Since the founding Emperor had enough with the wealthy merchants and hardship from bureaucrats, when he became the Emperor, he particularly hated corruption and the wealthy. Not to mention the restrictions placed on the merchants, the officials in court were regulated by him badly. Among the eight Dukes and sixteen Marquis that followed the Emperor and founded the empire, half of them perished during the reign of the founding Emperor. Many of them had a close relationship with the founding Emperor, so close that they wore the same pants, but in the end, it was difficult for them to end with a peaceful death.
The First Emperor was ruthless and acted arbitrarily. He hated officials holding onto power but at the same time hoped his descendants would last throughout the ages and maintained wealth forever. Thus, he slaughtered outstanding officials and set up severe rules and regulations for the officials, eunuchs and Inner Palace. At the same time, he too set customs and practices for the next generations. He felt that as long as the generations to come followed the route that he had arranged, they would definitely be able to enjoy wealth and nobility for generations. When the First Emperor passed on, the rules and regulations of the Qin family became lax each day, but the laws in court continued to maintain as such.
The most obvious difference was the succession planning. The Marquis of Chang Xing was an external official and awarded a noble Marquis title by merit, thus the title could only be passed down three generations at most. For the fourth generation of descendants to continue the title, they had to submit a memorandum to request it from the Emperor and hope that Heavens’ grace answers. However, it was different for the Prince residence. The First Emperor was particularly tolerant of his family, he titled his sons as Vassal Prince, each guarded various locations and could not return to the capital without permission, so that his own people would guard the empire.
When the Vassal Prince passed on, his Di-eldest son would inherit the Prince residence and continue to be the Prince of First Rank, the other Di-sons would be Princes of Second Rank and the Shu-sons would have a rank lower than the Di-sons. In the next generation, the Di-eldest son would be a Prince of Second Rank, and properties would be divided with other Di-sons. As such, as it passed down to generations, it was like a luxurious tree. The Prince title for the Qin family would only pass down and increase, as for other noble surnames, no matter if you are a meritorious official or a famous General, everyone had to accept the three generation deadline. As it went on, the noble Dukes’ and Marquises’ lifelines were firmly grasped by the Imperial family and the only way was to please the Emperor.
Although the residence of Prince Huai Ling was a Prince of a different surname, the treatment could not be compared to a Prince with the Qin surname. However, due to the inheritance, they were basking in glory. As long as the Lin family did not rebel, their Prince Huai Ling’s title would be passed down generations. The residence of Marquis of Chang Xing was different. Chu Jing was already the third generation of Marquis of Chang Xing. In other words, Chu Jing was currently the Marquis, but it was difficult to say if the title would be retained to be passed down to Second Young Master. If the title were not retained, then the entire Chu family would be demoted to civilians from the Marquis residence. If there were no Chu members in the court then the Chu family of the Marquis residence would soon disappear from the landscape.
This was the difference between the Chu family and the residence of Prince Huai Ling. The Prince residence could enjoy wealth forever but the Marquis residence could not. Therefore, it was no exaggeration that Chu Zhu had married up and when the residence of Prince Huai Ling came, the residence of Marquis Chang Xing had to entertain them well. It might be the case where in future they still needed the residence of Prince Huai Ling to help intercede for them. A Prince of the Second Rank was still a Prince. As long as one could see the Emperor, there are many things that could be said.
The Marquis of Chang Xing had been passed down to the last generation and as Chu Jing led the army in Tai Yuan, his power in the capital was mediocre thus, he had no sense of presence at the Emperor’s. Marquis of Chang Xing had no assurance that in the future, when he requested the Emperor to pass the title to Second Young Master, the Emperor would grant the Chu family this favour. This was why Marquis of Chang Xing attached so much importance to the Crown Prince’s matter and even instructed Second Young Master to be familiar with the books that the Crown Prince liked. Now that His Majesty was in a life of pleasure and trusted his close officials, there was no chance for the Chu family to make a comeback, so he could only work on the Crown Prince earlier.
“The Crown Prince actually likes these kinds of books…” Chu Jin Miao was surprised. In her mind, a gentle, melancholic and thin figure appeared and this person was the Eastern Palace’s Crown prince. It was indeed surprising that the Crown Prince liked the abstract mystery and shunned the world. However, since the Crown Prince liked these kinds of illusory and light books, his taste for females would be no different.
Chu Jin Miao immediately felt that the Heavens were helping her. She was the slenderest among all sisters and liked to wear loose clothings. Her family brothers would all say that she had an appearance of a weak willow that was supported by the wind. If the Crown Prince also liked this type of beauty, wouldn’t it be good?