Luo Huai Yuan just submitted his petition as he pleased and had no idea of the quakes it caused in court.
There were countless people cursing him secretly. They were mostly those vassal princes who shared his surname from the royal family. Of course, the Jingguo Duke Estate’s Xiao clan weren’t left out either.
The Xiao Clan wasn’t doing too well these days. From the moment the crown prince died and Empress Xiao fell from power, they seemed to have fallen into hell. The Jing Emperor seemed taciturn but his methods were rather impressive. He didn’t show any movement on the outside but repeatedly made moves secretly. He quietly ground away a large portion of the Xiao Clan’s strength.
Without mentioning anything else, it was even hard for the Xiao clan to enter the palace and meet with Royal Concubine Xiao.
The more they experienced the Jing Emperor’s methods, the more bitter the Xiao clan felt. This person was truly too sinister, using a dull blade to cut their flesh.
However, people always held out hope. The Xiao clan had one final card to play.
Of the crown prince’s sons, one was conferred as prince and the other two were conferred as regional princes. Since they were still young, they weren’t given vassal states yet and remained in the capital within their prince’s estates.
They were the Jingguo Duke’s great-grandsons and the royal former concubine’s grandsons. They were surnamed Luo and were true descendants of the royal line. They were the former crown prince’s children and had been considered for the throne previously. They were filled with limitless potential.
That’s right. Limitless potential. Now however, this potential had been dealt a blow by the Yun Prince’s inconsiderate actions. Now, danger was imminent. The Xiao clan had to wonder: if the Jing Emperor permitted the Yun Prince’s petition, would he think of abolishing the other vassal states as well? If that happened, their limitless potential would have died in the womb.
Unfortunately, the Xiao clan no longer had the influence to move the court officials into making a fuss. None of them were fools. Along with the Jing Emperor’s ascension, the crown prince’s faction had collapsed. Everyone gradually distanced themselves from the Jingguo Duke Estate.
The court didn’t have much of a reaction towards the Yun Prince’s petition. To put it plainly, this matter didn’t have much to do with them. It would be the Luo family’s people that were affected, and wouldn’t affect their own benefits. Since his majesty had such thoughts, those underneath naturally didn’t have much to say.
Of course, some people wondered if the Jing Emperor’s next step would be to make a move against all vassal princes. However, they realized there were no subsequent actions. The Yun Prince’s petition seemed to have been a complete farce, like a joke played by the Yun Prince who had always been unworthy of respect.
Whether or not the Yun Prince was worthy of respect, the Jing Emperor still personally passed down his decree, accepting the Yun Prince’s petition.
He then rewarded the Yun Prince handsomely. Not only was the Yun Prince Estate in the capital renovated and expanded, his salary was also raised by twenty percent. The Yun Province was also left as the Yun Prince’s vassal state, while the military and government authority was retracted. The vassal prince could still live in his vassal state, but it was also fine to return to the capital.
Afterwards, he summoned the Yun Prince back to the capital in a generous display.
Sun Shi Min had already been appointed as the Yun Prince Estate’s left adjutant several times in succession.
He even thought he would be in this position for his entire life. He didn’t expect the Yun Prince, his highness, to petition for his vassal state to be abolished.
Sun Shi Min’s emotions were a little complicated. As a court-appointed official, he had always carried out his left adjutant’s duties to the utmost. He did his best to help the Yun Prince become a vassal prince the court would like.
The Yun Prince had truly done as he hoped, and had done it even better than he expected. However, Sun Shi Min’s emotions were complicated. Having stayed for so long, he had formed some attachments. Would it really be good for the Yun Prince to return to the capital? Probably, but he definitely wouldn’t be free. The old pedant Sun Shi Min even wondered whether he had accidentally brainwashed the Yun Prince too much for him to have done such a thing.
However, since this matter was decided, there was no use in saying anything else. Sun Shi Min could only tell the Yun Prince everything he knew about getting along with the monarch. He hoped the Yun Prince could live like a fish in water after returning to the capital.
Therefore, Luo Huai Yuan wasn’t wrong in calling Sun Shi Min an old pedant. This person only focused on what was right in front of him, and was extremely ignorant of everything else. His thoughts were a little weird but he had a good heart. Luo Huai Yuan could only pat him on the shoulder and tell him that he would definitely be fine.
Then, they parted ways.
Thereafter, the Yun Prince Estate was no longer the official residence of the Yun Prince. It became a place the Yun Prince’s family could live in when they came over idly. Having lived in the Yun Province’s Yun Prince Estate for a while, Luo Huai Yuan’s group was nostalgic. Especially since the children were born and raised here. It was filled with too many memories. Therefore, everyone was reluctant to leave.
However, since there were family and friends in the capital, they still had to leave despite being reluctant to part with many of the things here.
They packed up and organized the things they were bringing along. This time was different since Luo Huai Yuan was planning on living permanently in the capital. There were too many things they had to bring along. Previously they had already sent carriages filled with their things towards the capital. The carriages had to go a long way so Luo Huai Yuan sent along an escort of guards.
By the time Luo Huai Yuan’s family set out, it was already a month later. This time they travelled lightly, and weren’t in a rush. By the time they arrived, it was the middle of summer.
This time was different from before. The Yun Prince was the first prince to voluntarily give up his vassal state. Whether due to their relationship or for his future interests, the Jing Emperor wouldn’t neglect him. He especially decreed for the officials to wait outside the city to welcome the Yun Prince back to the capital.
This was an extremely grand occasion. It was Luo Huai Yuan’s first time being in the spotlight so much, and his eyes were slitted from happiness.
After entering the palace, expressing gratitude for the grace, and going through all the etiquette, it was already dark by the time the family returned to the Yun Prince Estate.
When the Yun Prince’s family had previously returned to their vassal state, another greatly joyous event had happened.
Yan Mo who had been building up for a long time had taken the civil service exam in February. He lived up to expectations and managed to obtain third place.
A twenty-six year old third place ranker wasn’t able to startle everyone, but it was sufficient to make Yan Mo stand out. Many official’s households had the thought of taking him in as a son-in-law. However, since he was quite old, they figured he was definitely already married. Therefore, they merely thought about it and no one made any moves. However, a few discerning people had investigated his identity and realized this low-key person’s background wasn’t simple at all.
However, all this had nothing to do with Yan Mo. Ranking highly was merely the first step. His placement merely allowed him entrance into the Hanlin Academy without an entrance exam. It was merely ths first step on the path to becoming an official.
This did ease Shen Yi Yao’s mind. Now that her son had some achievements, his prospects were clearly good. It was time to discuss marriage.
By the time Yan Yan set out for the capital, Shen Yi Yao had already started picking candidates. When Yan Yan arrived, she visited everyone she needed to. She had just relaxed when Shen Yi Yao came to the door with a bunch of likeness paintings of girls.
She naturally wanted Yan Yan to help pick out a wife for Yan Mo.
Yan Yan felt very complicated. She had thought about her brother’s marriage previously, but never in detail. Now that the matter was imminent, she finally realized it wasn’t easy to pick out a girl for him.
The paintings and information were all there. Yan Yan had looked them over already but had no idea whatsoever.
It wasn’t just her. Shen Yi Yao was the same way. She had remarried once, and was well aware that to be happy and well, husband and wife had to get along and the household had to be harmonious. Therefore, this matter needed to be done cautiously.
Yan Yan told her not to rush and look things over slowly while she scouted out Yan Mo’s thoughts.
Shen Yi Yao approved.
A grown son no longer followed his mom. Yan Mo had been rather clingy when he was younger, but after growing up, perhaps due to being a boy, he wasn’t as close with her as before. Furthermore, he became more and more opinionated. Previously, Shen Yi Yao had mentioned that even if he wasn’t in a rush to marry, it was ok to have a couple of chambermaids. However, she was refused by Yan Mo.
Even as his mom, Shen Yi Yao didn’t know her son’s current thoughts. Yan Mo and Yan Yan had always been close. Perhaps he would be more willing to talk to his sister.
Yan Yan naturally wouldn’t go in person. Not only was it awkward for Yan Mo to discuss such things with his sister, she also didn’t know how to start this conversation. She had already decided to leave this task to Luo Huai Yuan. Yan Mo and Luo Huai Yuan were extremely close. She had seen the two secretly writing to each other several times.
Luo Huai Yuan accepted this formidable task and got an answer from Yan Mo not even two days later.
He didn’t have a girl in mind. His requirements were very simple: a clean background and a good person.
Actually, having too few requirements was also extremely headache-inducing. The ball was once again in Yan Yan and Shen Yi Yao’s court. They had to continue struggling. Luckily, Yan Yan was well aware of Luo Huai Yuan’s nature. Based on his personality, how could he only have gotten this little bit of information?
As expected, after some interrogation, Luo Huai Yuan responded honestly. Although Yan Mo didn’t say it clearly, Luo Huai Yuan could tell his brother-in-law wanted a simple girl to spend a wonderful life with. It would just be the two of them for all time, just like he and Yan Yan. The fact that this stirred Yan Yan’s mind won’t be mentioned for now.
Now that there was a target, the rest was easy to accomplish.
Yan Yan and Shen Yi Yao started frequently attending the various flower banquets in the capital and interacting with the noblewomen. Many households gradually found out that the Yun Consort and her mother were choosing a wife for the consort’s brother. As the third place ranker, with a consort as his sister, a commander as his step-father and the mighty Zhenguo Duke as his grandfather, even if the Yan household had no foundation, Yan Mo was a hot commodity.
Those interested frequently interacted with Yan Yan and Shen Yi Yao. The two of them picked out a few suitable candidates.
These girls weren’t from the best families, but were rather famous for their talent and virtue. After a round of eliminations, they picked out three names for now.
One of them was the Anle Marquis household’s principal daughter. She was elegant and composed and quite the literary talent. Another was the Ministry of Revenue’s assistant minister’s daughter. She was cute and dainty, her personality innocent and unaffected.
The last one was the one Yan Yan had her eye on. This girl didn’t have a prominent family, her father was just a fifth-rank official in the Ministry of Labor. However, their household was harmonious and her father only had one wife. There were no concubines or chambermaids. The wife had given birth to four children and the girl in question was the eldest. She had two younger brothers and a sister.
This girl was surnamed Han and called Shu. Because her father wasn’t of high birth, his ranking wasn’t high and their family’s situation wasn’t that good. As the eldest daughter, Han Shu often helped her mother take care of her siblings as well as internal affairs.
Yan Yan found out about her coincidentally. This matter involved Liu Shu Yi.
Yan Yan had met with Liu Shu Yi whenever she returned to the capital. The two had remained in touch this entire time. Liu Shu Yi was doing pretty well. Having married her childhood friend Chu Ming Chen, her mother-in-law was her own aunt. The couple had a good relationship and she had given birth to two sons and a daughter.
Now that Yan Yan was back for good, the two rekindled their former friendship and frequently hung out. Liu Shu Yi also knew that Yan Yan was looking for a wife for Yan Mo. Yan Yan had even asked her to suggest some suitable girls. Han Shu’s mom was one of Liu Shu Yi’s paternal aunt’s relatives. Because Han Shu wasn’t young anymore but had yet to marry, her parents were rather worried and had asked many relatives to help out.
Liu Shu Yi suggested Han Shu because her family’s special circumstances. It must be known that during ths era, it was extremely rare for a man to only have one woman. She and Chu Ming Chen had gotten into an argument over his chambermaid, and had almost gotten divorced. They had gone through a lot before understanding each other’s minds and becoming harmonious and undoubtfully loving. Liu Shu Yi suggested Han Shu not just because her parent’s were loving, but also because Han Shu herself.
Han Shu had been influenced by her parents’ loving relationship and naturally wanted the same for herself. However, the older she got the more she realized that men like her father were as rare as phoenix feathers and unicorn horns.
However, despite her gentle appearance, Han Shu was a very stubborn girl. After coming of age, her mother was naturally worried about her marriage. However, she had said one thing: if she can’t find a man like her father who didn’t take concubines, she would rather remain unwed.
How could such a man be easy to find?
In the capital, many noble descendants would have chambermaids placed in their rooms at thirteen or fourteen. There would be many concubines after marriage. Households who weren’t extravagantly wealthy would still have a harem. Even a minor person who passed the exam would probably want a concubine. Only if she married a peasant who struggled to make a living would she get her wish.
Han Shu’s father didn’t have a high ranking but was still a court-appointed official. How could he be willing to let his daughter marry into such a bitter life? After losing several opportunities, Han Shu became an old maid. She was nineteen this year and still unmarried.
Others mocked this matter incessantly. The Han household’s relatives all made fun of Han Shu for indulging in fantasies. Some felt heartache that such a good girl still remained unmarried. Liu Shu Yi’s aunt’s relative was one of them, and brought it up often. This matter reached Liu Shu Yi’s ears.
As a girl, Liu Shu Yi naturally admired this girl who wasn’t willing to lower her standards. She also felt it was a pity. Due to her relationship with Yan Yan, she knew that Yan Mo had remained single this entire time. There wasn’t anyone pampering him in his room.
Knowing that Yan Mo was looking for a wife, her thoughts had stirred and she mentioned Han Shu to Yan Yan.
Little Ah Mo is about to marry. Must find him a good girl or he’d be too lonely by himself.