Xiao Hua’s face immediately darkened when the Jing Prince had someone send the list of names to the western pavilion.
It was precisely because she felt his highness was doing it on purpose.
Letting her sort through the names before sending it over to the lord uncle’s place, what would the Li family think?
They would definitely think that this arrogant and domineering Madam Hua was being petty. They had just wanted to pull the relationship closer but she hurriedly compiled a list of young gentlemen and sent it over. Wasn’t this telling their daughter to hurry and choose one so she wouldn’t be an eyesore anymore? Even using his highness’s name to suppress us when it was your idea!
But she also understood the Jing Prince’s intentions. Therefore, she could only darken her face as she prepared to get slandered once again while also feeling sweetness in her heart. She didn’t even do any sorting before having Ding Lan send the list over. Eunuch Chang’s words had been very clear. His highness had already sorted through the names, and just needed madam to send it out.
Why did she have to be the one to send it? Wasn’t it just his malicious intent?!
After Ding Lan left, Li Xue Bing, Qi-Shi and Concubine He looked as though they swallowed a fly.
“Isn’t she too arrogant? She can also do this? And his highness is also indulging her and letting her bully our Miao Lian?” Qi-Shi said both angrily and urgently.
Concubine He’s brows were furrowed tightly, “Madam, don’t speak too soon. His highness has definitely agreed, and in fact he probably approves. Otherwise, where would she have gotten such a list?”
Li Xue Bing was a man, and it wasn’t appropriate for him to discuss his nephew’s concubine. He could only sit silently with a dark expression.
“The consort didn’t even interfere but this Madam Hua took care of it just by flapping her lips. She even borrowed his highness’s name. She clearly shouldn’t be underestimated….”
Qi-Shi naturally understood the reasoning behind Concubine He’s words. Since they relied on their royal nephew, they naturally couldn’t offend someone whom he solely favored.
They also clearly understood what the other side meant. Weren’t they saying how their daughter’s marriage couldn’t be delayed? Look how considerate I was, picking out a list of suitors for you in case you become an eyesore.
Of course, they could refuse. But that would undoubtedly put them at odds against Madam Hua. What were their chances against a woman like that? Qi-Shi still knew that men couldn’t resist those who shared their bed. Wasn’t her husband such an example!?
Qi-Shi glanced at Concubine He as she thought this.
“Then what should we do?”
Everyone there understood the reasoning. Li Xue Bing thought a little further, thinking of how both his sons’ prospects were reliant on his nephew. It would be bad if it gets ruined by pillow talk.
“Let’s take a look first.” Li Xue Bing said.
The three of them picked and chose for a long while, without even drinking a sip of tea. After they were done, they were quite disappointed.
It wasn’t to say these people weren’t good. They were all decent. Their pictures were even included, and all were quite heroic looking. It’s just their background was lacking. If they weren’t some imperial guard or vice-commander, they were at most a 7th or 8th minor ranked official. There weren’t even any from slightly richer households. If you asked them what counted as a richer household, the Li family also wouldn’t be able to answer. They just felt these weren’t sufficient.
If this were in the past, these suitors were more than a match for Li Miao Lian. But things were different now. How could the grand Jing Prince’s cousin be a match for these people?
Li Xue Bing was angered. He ignored Qi-Shi and Concubine He’s attempts at persuading him and sent the Jing Prince a message.
Right as night fell, the general manager by the Jing Prince’s side, Eunuch Fu, came over.
Seeing Eunuch Fu, the Li family were all rather courteous.
After a bout of pleasantries, Eunuch Fu got right to the point and said: “Lord uncle isn’t an outsider so this one won’t put on any airs. The list of people was sent over by madam, but had also been screened by his highness. How could his highness harm his own cousin? Although these people don’t seem to have impressive backgrounds, they have all relied on themselves to get to where they are. Lord uncle should think of it this way: is family background more important or personal ability? Of course, background is definitely still important, but those without ability would still be useless in the end. These people relied on themselves at such a young age for their achievements. Although their current position is a little low, who knows what their prospects are like in the future. Especially since they will have help from his highness.”
“Most importantly, those families are simple without a bunch of in-laws and concubines. Becoming the mistress of the house the moment she marries in, wouldn’t her life be happy and carefree?”
Li Xue Bing’s brows were still furrowed but Qi-Shi seemed to be lost in thought.
“Sorry for inconveniencing Eunuch Fu. It’s all because we’re too worried about the second young mistress. Leave the rest to the lord and this madam.”
“Sure, this one will take his leave first.”
Li Xue Bing hadn’t declared his position yet when Qi-Shi voiced her opinion.
She was a woman, and naturally knew that Eunuch Fu’s words made a lot of sense. As the wife of a former magistrate, her social circle was still quite broad. She knew that some households appeared glamorous, but were actually filled with internal strife. The young masters of slightly rich households would have a bunch of chambermaids before they were even married.
Having raised her daughter herself, she was clear about her personality. Having been pampered from a young age, she had no insightfulness and merely knew how to make a fuss. If she really had to face off against a bunch of concubines and what not, how was she to live? It was better to find a smaller household and be a harmonious couple for the rest of their lives. With a royal cousin behind her, the man would definitely have to treat her like a treasure.
After Qi-Shi thought things through, she carefully sorted through the pile of pictures. After looking through them for half the night, she picked three of them. The next day she looked them over once more and even asked Concubine He to look them over before deciding on a young man surnamed Zhou.
This young man Zhou was the quartermaster at the imperial guard’s office of the Jing Prince Estate, a major sixth rank official. The imperial guard’s office had a commander and a vice-commander. The quartermaster was an assistant under these commanders, and also commanded a certain number of guards. Quartermaster Zhou’s family was simple. There was only his old mother. His house was within the Jing Prince Estate near the outskirts.
This meant that even if her daughter was married off, she would still be close by, and wouldn’t need to worry about being wronged.
Qi-Shi grew more satisfied the more she looked, and brought the page to discuss with Li Xue Bing. Li Xue Bing was still a little dissatisfied, and felt that his background was a little lacking. However, he couldn’t convince Qi-Shi. Qi-Shi was normally not good with words, but when it had to do with her own daughter she would be very stubborn. Li Xue Bing could only comply, and agreed.
After convincing her husband, she still had to convince her daughter. Qi-Shi knew that this was the true challenge. As expected, after Li Miao Lian heard her words she was greatly disappointed and wouldn’t stop crying. She wouldn’t agree no matter what. Qi-Shi was helpless, and could only call Concubine He over. After some laying out the reasoning and given her a couple of scares, her attitude was no longer as stubborn.
Actually Li Miao Lian wasn’t that smitten with the Jing Prince. She just felt that this cousin looked very handsome, and the estate was wealthy and of high status. She would be clad in gold, wearing silver and have no worries about food and drink. The Jing Prince was antisocial, and she was aware of this, but the “handsome cousin” factor covered it up.
Her mom and Concubine He both gave her examples, describing how mighty that Madam Hua was, saying how tragically the consort had been suppressed, saying that she was so nasty and ferocious that after swallowing her up she wouldn’t even spit out the bones.
Li Miao Lian only had a fierce mouth, but was actually very timid. Hearing her family say these things, she no longer had the guts.
Concubine He seized the opportunity to describe Quartermaster Zhou to her, saying how his moral character had no flaws and his talents were outstanding. He was also handsome, and the main point was that marrying him would make her the main wife. Wouldn’t it be good if it was just the two of them being lovey-dovey?
Li Miao Lian listened to her words, then looked at the picture in her hands once again, and felt that it seemed to be pretty good. Therefore, she agreed with tears in her eyes.
They sent a letter over to the Jing Prince, and after some discussion the wedding was set for two months later.
The Jing Prince Estate started preparing Li Miao Lian for marriage. She was the prince’s cousin after all, and no matter what they had to marry her off with grandeur. After seeing the estate carrying various things into their pavilion for her dowry, her eyes were suddenly full of joy and she uttered no more words of complaint. Even Qi-Shi said that his highness was benevolent, and treated relatives sincerely.
Then they slowly prepared for the wedding and waited for the date she would be married off.
That pastry shop’s storekeeper was the Jing Consort’s steward.
Back at the capital he stayed within their estate. After arriving at the Jing Province, Xiao-Shi’s mom thought it wasn’t enough to leave some women by her daughter’s side, and sent him over as well. He opened a store within the Jing City and normally helped the Jing Consort pass on messages to the capital.
Xiao-Shi’s father and mother received their daughter’s letter, and after reading it they went crying to the Jing Consort’s “father-in-name”, the Xiao family’s second lord.1
The Jing Duke’s Estate was recently extremely busy. The entire household had a headache.
It was precisely due to the Jin Prince.
After the Jin Prince’s leg was hurt, the crown prince’s morale became lacking. The Dragon Ascending Ornament had fallen into the Jin Prince’s hands, and the crown prince was also confined. With his majesty’s attitude added into the mix, many of those loyal to the Jing Duke and the crown prince had started to hesitate.
Naturally there was no need to mention all the appeasement and enticement they had to do. Additionally, they still had to prevent the Jin Prince from carrying out any schemes while he recovered. They were under a lot of pressure.
Just as the Jin Prince’s injury was about done healing, a new situation came up.
The Jin Prince’s leg actually became lame.
It wasn’t a major problem, he just had a little limp. It wasn’t obvious when standing but it was apparent when he walked.
The Jin Prince was Emperor Xi’s favorite son, so how could his majesty endure this? Along with Senior Concubine Xu crying her heart out, Emperor Xi was even more enraged. He summoned countless imperial physicians but they all said there was nothing they could do.
When the Jin Prince was first injured, the imperial physicians had also said that the broken bone could heal, but might leave behind some minor problems.
See? It indeed left behind some problems.
The Jin Prince suffered this massive set back, Senior Concubine Xu was heartbroken and Emperor Xi was furious. He looked even less favorably upon the crown prince. He then decreed for a nationwide search of famous doctors. Whoever could heal the Jin Prince’s leg would be rewarded a thousand taels of gold, and be offered a position at the imperial hospital.
The crown prince had been hoping for the Jin Prince’s leg to hurry and heal so he could return to his vassal state. Right as it healed, this other problem sprung up. Could he still suggest the Jin Prince to go back at this point? The crown prince was afraid to bring it up. There were a few unrelated officials who felt things weren’t appropriate, and submitted memorandums. They were then promptly removed from their posts by Emperor Xi.
The blame ended up falling on the crown prince’s head. It was said that he had instigated them, and he was cursed for trying to drive his brother out after breaking his leg.
No one dared to bring this matter up anymore, and they all turned a blind eye to it.
The Jing Duke and the crown prince felt that the Jin Prince was making moves in private because several families that used to be close with the crown prince suddenly became withdrawn. They were still polite on the surface, making one unable to pick out any faults, but anyone could tell they had become distant.
As for the reason, it all pointed to the Jin Prince. However, they were unable to find any proof that he had been courting these officials.
Right as they were under pressure, the branch family suddenly asked them to mediate for their daughter, saying the Jing Prince was favoring a concubine while doing away with the main wife.
The Jing Prince? That mute fifth prince who was sent to the middle of nowhere? Favoring a concubine while doing away with the main wife? The Xiao family did marry a daughter over. Was it really this daughter the branch family was talking about?
“Second lord, Qian Qian is your “daughter”. If you don’t seek justice for her, no one else will.”
Second Lord Xiao sneered disdainfully in his heart. The empress and the crown prince did this as a favor for you. We’re already busy enough with important matters. However, he didn’t say this and merely said: “You guys said it yourselves, the Jing Prince is merely favoring a concubine. Has he mistreated the consort? Did he beat her? Did he send her out of the estate? Did he let that concubine suppress her? Did he do any of that?”
Xiao-Shi’s parents froze. There truly wasn’t any of that. Their daughter only said the Jing Prince wasn’t good to her, wasn’t intimate with her, and for the sake of a concubine wouldn’t go to her pavilion.
“Since he didn’t do any of that, how could this count as doing away with the main wife? Men liking feminine charms is perfectly reasonable. The Jing Duke Estate is so large, with so many daughters having married out. If everyone sends a letter back after their husband gets intimate with a concubine, how are we supposed to carry on?”
“But what? Why does the main wife need to quibble with a minor concubine? Giving birth to a son is what’s important. It seems Qian Qian still hasn’t shown any progress in that regard?”
Even though he wasn’t her actual father, he was still her father in name. If there were truly any developments on that front, they would definitely send a letter over. Therefore, the Second Lord Xiao still knew that “his own daughter” had yet to give birth.
Xiao-Shi’s mom was ashamed, “Not yet…..”
“If not yet, then have her get on with it. A grand noblewoman only knowing to be jealous over affection. Do I still need to tell her what to do? If she gave birth to a little heir, would there still be anyone that can suppress her?”
The second lord was a military man. His temper had always been violent and his words were never restrained. Having said so much to Xiao-Shi’s parents was already quite unusual.
After speaking, he stood up, “Enough, this lord still has matters to deal with. You should send her a letter persuading her a little. Already so old and still so oblivious.”
His last words weren’t just directed at Xiao-Shi, but also at her parents. Regardless, Xiao-Shi’s parents covered their faces and left in humiliation.
Xiao-Shi’s mom still hadn’t said that her daughter couldn’t give birth because the Jing Prince wasn’t willing to be intimate with her. But how could she say something like that to the second lord?
“Husband, what should we do?” After returning to their own home, Xiao-Shi’s mom cried and said.
Xiao-Shi’s dad sighed, “Send a letter to her and persuade her to change her temper. Qian Qian is too stubborn. Since she’s married off, what can we say about it? His highness also didn’t mistreat her. The matter about intimacy, how can outsiders have a say in it?”
“Especially since the second lord, her nominal father, isn’t willing to care about it. What could we say, and what right do we have to say anything?”
Xiao-Shi’s mom started crying heavily, “It’s all your fault for wanting to put our daughter under someone else’s name. Now we can’t even give her any support…..”
“That was decided by the main clan. What could a branch member like myself say about it…..”
Xiao-Shi’s mom cried for another while before wiping her eyes and sending a letter to the Jing Province.
Suddenly realize the saying “those with thick skin get plenty to eat” is completely accurate. The Jin Prince’s is a little thick, and the crown prince got screwed over.
Aiya, you guys are so bad. Who said they wanted to see the fatty and the beauty? Making my heart itch, I had finally put aside that thought. Can this author say I’m tempted? There are really readers who like reading about fatty Yun and his domineering consort?
Should it be fatty Yun and his domineering consort or the barbarian and the little white rabbit?