Disclaimer: this is an abridged version of Chubby Cheeks‘ translated chapter. Please follow the link for the complete chapter, translator notes, characters lists, etc.
Chapter 85: The Day of Marriage
In a twinkling of an eye it was the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month.
The eighth day of the twelfth lunar month was an auspicious day for the long widowed Prince Yu to marry a Wangfei.
“That Shen Gui has gone crazy.” There was someone who was speaking softly in the crowd watching the commotion. “Is not this watching one’s daughter jumping into the fire pit? This is sinful.”
“What do you know.” Another person said, “I heard from my official Biao Older Brother, that this Eldest Shen Young Lady had illicit sexual relations with Prince Yu and is already pregnant. If it was not because that is Royal flesh and blood, she would be drowned.”
“Ah. What you said is real?” The surrounding people were surprised as they did not know about this before.
That person shook his head, “It is so. Heard that during the returning banquet in the Palace, hundreds of civil and military officials had witnessed it, and heard that this Shen family Eldest Young Lady is not pitiful at all and brought trouble to herself.”
“Indeed if it is like this. To be pregnant before marriage, this offends the public morals.”
“Really, does not know what shame is.”
“How did the Shen family’s Second household teach such a daughter. Really she is humiliating the General’s family status.”
“What does this have to do with General Shen? General Shen is not in the Ding capital all year and even his daughter was raised by the two other households.”
From the initial comment of sympathy to the later spitting and cursing only seemed to be a short moment of time. Even Shen Gui’s and Ren Wan Yun’s bones were picked.
That person who initially said that Shen Qing was pregnant quietly smiled and disappeared into the crowd.
In the Shen residence, the matchmaker was putting makeup on Shen Qing.
Ren Wan Yun stood behind Shen Qing and tightly twisted the handkerchief in her hands.
Shen Qing sat quietly in the seat and that matchmaker smiled and said, “Eldest Young Lady, this old one will thread one’s face. Face threading is somewhat painful, Eldest Young Lady must tolerate and after one will be a beautiful bride.”
The matchmaker also grew apprehensive towards Shen Qing’s wooden expression as she took a thin cotton thread from a box and started threading. Normally a noble young lady would delicately cry out with some pain but Shen Qing was as expressionless as if she was dead.
“Qing-er.” Ren Wan Yun could not help but shed tears.
When the matchmaker saw such a scene, she understood a little in her heart. She did not say any auspicious words and quickly put Shen Qing’s makeup on and found an excuse to depart.
“Mother, do not worry.” It was Shen Qing who spoke first. Her voice was somewhere between crying and laughing, “Today what I have suffered would not be in vain. I will take revenge myself.”
“Qing-er, Mother let you down.” Ren Wan Yun hugged her.
Shen Qing woodenly let her mother hug her and said in a hoarse voice full of grievance, “Father and Mother cannot help but even so I will take my own revenge.”
It was like a strike of lighting for Ren Wan Yun to be hated by her own daughter. But she knew how the matter came to this step and it was not necessarily without reason. If she had not schemed against Shen Miao in the beginning, if she had gone out and taken a look in Wo Long Temple or perhaps if she had not written to Prince Yu, perhaps then Shen Qing would not have fallen into such a desperate situation.
She reluctantly smiled, “Qing-er must not be afraid, Mother swears to definitely take revenge for you. And your Second Older Brother would definitely not let that little slut off.”
In the big hall of the Shen residence, Old Shen Furen’s expression was serious as she sat on the middle seat. Shen Yuan Bo was half laying in her arms.
“Make what up.” Old Shen Furen said, “After doing such a shameless thing, she still has face to increase the trousseau. Number Two, you have raised a good daughter.” This time what happened to Shen Qing could not be hidden from her, and knowing that all the civil and military officials were aware of Shen Qing’s shameful deed, Old Shen Furen felt that her old face was lost and naturally hated Shen Qing and her mother.
Shen Gui quickly consented and could not wait to divorce Ren Wan Yun on the spot.
Shen Qiu’s expression upon hearing this was weird, seemingly like he wanted to laugh. Most likely Old Shen Furen herself had forgotten that she was originally a songstress. She really thought that she was an unmarried daughter of a noble house who was as clear as ice and as clean as jade.
Old Shen Furen finished throwing out her temper, “The dowry cannot be too much. This kind of daughter is not worth my Shen family’s money.”
When such words were spoken, Luo Xue Yan had a layer of contempt in her eyes. Old Shen Furen was most biased against Eldest household and even if one valued males and belittled females, Shen Qing grew up under Shen Old Furen. One obviously knew that Shen Qing’s marriage into Prince Yu’s residence was a tragic start, by giving more money perhaps Shen Qing could live more comfortably, but one did not think that Old Shen Furen would be so stingy.
Suddenly Shen Yue exclaimed, “Second Older Brother.”
Everyone looked at the direction of Shen Yue’s eyes and there from the door walked in a young man, wearing a stone green long robe. This young man looked upright and upon closer inspection, looked a sixth or seventh similar to Shen Gui. There was a touch of pride in his brows.
This was not anyone else but the Shen family’s Second household’s eldest Di son, Shen Yuan.
In the Second household, Shen Yuan was naturally clever and quick-witted. Since young, he would score the top ranks in the exams and afterwards had the attention of nobility and went into a career in court. Previously, he had been posted for three years in the outskirts for training purposes and he would be an official in the Ding capital after the year ends. Who knew that Shen Qing would fall into a mishap. It seemed that he rushed back so that he could see the day his Younger Sister married off.
Even Shen Yue could not help but hide behind Shen Wan. Shen Wan patted She Yue’s back as his eyes fell onto Shen Yuan.
Towards Shen Yuan, there were a number of people in the Shen residence that were somewhat afraid of him. Perhaps it was that Shen Yuan had fame at such a young age or from one’s intuition one felt that he had deep thoughts even though he was young. In short, Shen Yue and the previous Shen Miao were all very afraid of him.
The happiest person was no other than Old Shen Furen. She waved her hands to Shen Yuan in pleasant surprise, “Yuan-er.” Shen Yuan Bo in Old Shen Furen’s embrace also called out crisply, “Second Older Brother.”
Shen Yuan then smiled and gave Old Shen Furen a greeting, “Grandmother.” He touched Shen Yuan Bo’s head, “Yuan Bo grew taller again.”
“Afraid that Yuan boy has rushed back.” Chen Rou Qiu smiled, “The journey must be tiring, why not take a rest first?” Now that she was the one managing the Shen residence she had a matriarch appearance on.
Shen Yuan turn around and glanced at Chen Rou Qiu. When the children were young, she had secretly tripped Shen Yuan but he was unexpectedly smart and much later, it was Chen Rou Qiu that suffered. Chen Rou Qiu thought that Ren Wan Yun was lucky to be able to give birth to a clever son, so even if one were to be dissatisfied with the Second household, Chen Rou Qiu did not dare to completely annoy the other.
“No need.” Shen Yuan said, “I return this time is just to see my Younger Sister get married. If one rests then it would be too late.”
Speaking of Shen Qing, the atmosphere became a little awkward and Old Shen Furen did not delve into it. Shen Yuan also did not move as his eyes almost did not hesitate to look over to the person standing next to Shen Qiu, Shen Miao.
“Not seeing for a long time, Fifth Younger Sister has also changed a lot.” He narrowed his eyes, “Indeed, ladies changes eighteen times between childhood and womanhood, Fifth Younger Sister changed so much that I somewhat cannot recognize.”
Shen Miao calmly looked at him, Shen Yuan’s eyes were probing sinisterly, as if they were a poisonous snake slithering in the marsh and tightly wrapping around. She smiled lightly, “Second Older Brother stayed the same as always.”
Chen Rou Qiu’s eyes paused, Shen Yue was somewhat rejoicing at another’s misfortune and Shen Xin and Luo Xue Yan frowned. But Shen Qiu smiled as he continued the conversation, “Exactly, Second Younger Brother looks like there is no change.” It provoked Shen Yuan to look at Shen Qiu as he said meaningfully, “Did not think that now Fifth Younger Sister and Eldest Brother’s relationship is actually this good.”
“Since its between real siblings, feelings are naturally good.” Shen Miao smiled warmly, “If Second Older Brother goes down to see Eldest Sister, perhaps one can catch her before her makeup.”
Shen Yuan looked at Shen Miao deeply and smiled, “Yes. I will go now.” Having said that, he bowed to Old Shen Furen, “Grandmother, I will go and take a look at Younger Sister first. I as an Older Brother am not by Younger Sister side and now she is to get married. One is not sure if she would be bullied in the future and could only speak a few words to her, so this one will leave first.” Finishing, he turned around and quickly left without looking at anyone.
From the beginning to the end, not a word was said to Shen Gui.
Old Shen Furen gazed at him with a complicated look and also felt something stuffed in her heart so she waved her hands, “Support me back to the room.”
Old Shen Furen did not plan to go to the wedding banquet tonight. To what Old Shen Furen sees, those who were invited to participate in the wedding banquet were high ranking or nobles, so they would have known the ins and outs of this marriage. To throw such an old face of hers away, it would impact her fortune so she let Zhang Mama support her back to the room at that moment.
After Old Shen Furen left, it was somewhat awkward in the hall. Shen Yue looked at Shen Miao and asked, “Fifth Younger Sister, what did you gift Eldest Sister as part of her dowry?”
“Just some jewelry only.” Shen Miao said.
Shen Yue replied with an “Oh.” Seeing that she had a cannot be bothered look, although she was angry in her heart, she dared not show it in front of Shen Xin couple and quietly stood by Chen Rou Qiu’s side.
Shen Wan looked towards Shen Xin, “Eldest Brother, now that Yuan-er has returned, what is next?”
“What does Yuan Boy got to do with me?” Shen Xin said puzzled, “I cannot control my own Jiao Jiao and Qiu Boy but I need to manage Number Two’s son? Number Three, your Third household has fewer people so if there is nothing the matter then you should also help Number Two. After all you are real brothers.”
Shen Xin was one that looked straightforward and honest but the words he spoke were like poisonous snakes. When he said those words, Shen Wan had yet to respond but Chen Rou Qiu was so angry that her nails were embedded into her palms. Everyone knew that the Third household had a thin line and Chen Rou Qiu other than given birth to Shen Yue, there were no sons at all. Shen Xin was poking knives into Chen Rou Qiu’s heart.
“Yes, DiXiFu.” Luo Xue Yan also smiled as she spoke, “Do not keep worrying about other family’s matter. One knows that both of you are kind but it is also time for you to think about your own matters. Yue Girl is already so grown up, in the future when she gets married there would not be any brothers to help out, it would be considered as lacking.”
Shen Miao’s eyes were stirring with laughter.
“Younger Sister, let’s go and take a look at Eldest Younger Sister.” Shen Qiu patted Shen Miao’s shoulder, “Your makeup is still at my place.”
Shen Miao knew that Shen Qiu had something to say to her, so she nodded her head and greeted a few people before heading to the Western courtyard with Shen Qiu.
“Younger Sister, Shen Yuan is hostile to you.” Shen Qiu said.
“It is possible he is aware of the root cause of the matter.” Shen Qiu was somewhat anxious, “He is one who loves to act behind the scenes and is quite scheming. One fears that he would take revenge for Shen Qing and would think of ways to harm you. These days you should stay in the residence and not go out.
Shen Qiu had a kind of natural hostility to Shen Yuan and it was something that had unknown reasons. In fact there were no quarrels or fights between Shen Yuan and Shen Qiu, but Shen Qiu just found that Shen Yuan was not pleasing to his eyes. Perhaps there were people born to be arch-enemies.
“Eldest Brother, if he truly wants to harm me, no matter how well I hide, he will still find a way. Moreover, what can he do? Rest assured, since he is a cautious person, he would not casually find someone to kill me.”
“Younger Sister, you are still young and do not understand how dangerous some things are.” Shen Qiu was more anxious, “Shen Yuan is not a good person, if you are this careless, you will suffer.”
“Rest assured Eldest Brother.” Shen Miao looked at Shen Qiu, “Counter soldiers with arms, and water with an earth weir. If there is really anything, is not there still Eldest Brother?” Her smile was cold and there were words in her heart that she did not say to Shen Qiu.
Shen Qiu’s death in the previous life was definitely not an accident. She did not know if it was either the Second or the Third household but not one of these people would escape. Even if Shen Yuan did not take action against her, she would not let Shen Yuan live well.
This could be considered as paying the debt from the previous life.
In Cai Yun Yuan of the Eastern courtyard, when Ren Wan Yun saw Shen Yuan she went up to hug Shen Yuan and burst into tears. These days she was alone in fear and felt helpless and finally everything burst out when she saw Shen Yuan.
Shen Yuan comforted Ren Wan Yun for a while before coming forward to touch Shen Qing’s head. Shen Qing tolerated before finally started bawling and said between cries, “Second Older Brother, why did you not return earlier?”
When Ren Wan Yun saw Shen Qing cry, she also began crying again. For a moment, the room was shaking with cries and one would have thought that it was a funeral and not a happy event.
A flash of haze appeared in Shen Yuan’s eyes. He grew up in the General residence and although the most powerful in the General residence was the Shen Xin couple, but to him, those two people only knew how to fight and they and their children were all fools, and easily played in the hands of their Second household.
And now, that household of fools actually forced Ren Wan Yun and Shen Qing to this point.
“Mother must not cry.” Shen Yuan said, “Crying is to no avail.”
“Yuan boy.” Ren Wan Yun clutched his hand, “You have the most ideas, you must be able to save your sister right?”
Hearing this, Shen Qing also looked towards Shen Yuan with hope, “Second Older Brother, begging you to help me. I do not wish to marry to that person. I should not be marrying to him. Second Older Brother, help me, help me.”
“Not possible.” Shen Yuan’s calm expression was almost cold, “The matter of marriage has no possibility of a turn at this point and one cannot do harm to everybody because of Younger Sister. So Younger Sister must go through this marriage.”
As the voice finished speaking, Shen Qing fell onto the ground paralysed and finally cried out desperately. Her makeup was destroyed and she had dirt all over her but she did not notice it at all.
“Really no other way?” Ren Wan Yun murmured.
“Even though there is no way to get out of this marriage, but my Shen Yuan’s Younger Sister cannot just take this kind of calculation from others while laying down.” Shen Yuan coldly said, “For Shen Miao to become so smart overnight, there should be someone behind guiding, else it is that she had faked it all along. It is better if there was someone guiding. If she faked it for ten over years, it is truly too scary.”
“Seeing that she escaped when the matter was about to succeed. Yuan-er, that little slut cannot remain.” Ren Wan Yun gritted her teeth and said, “Thinking that everything today was caused by that slut, I could not wait to eat her flesh and drink her blood.”
“Mother now cannot deal with her unbridled because of Eldest Bo’s family. Heard that Eldest Bo will be staying in the capital for half a year more. Like this, Shen Miao has a longer period of backing.” Shen Yuan looked at Shen Qing.
Ren Wan Yun trembled, “But one cannot just let the matter go like that.”
“Of course not.” Shen Yuan said, “In this world, there would always be a day where the backing will fall, no matter how big it is. Since Shen Miao has backing, then let her backing fall. It is good for Eldest Bo’s family to stay in the Ding capital.” A smile floated on Shen Yuan’s lips, “Saves me the trouble to find each one.”
Ren Wan Yun was somewhat fearful in her heart but seeing the fallen Shen Qing, a wave of anger immediate raised up, “Yuan-er, must not let that little slut off.”
“Rest assured.” Shen Yuan eyes were gloomy, “Whoever dares to play under my eyes, I will return it with thanks. Since Shen Miao harmed Mother and Younger Sister, I will let their Shen family First household pay and leave Shen Miao for last and play with her slowly. That is then interesting.”
Shen Qing’s bridal makeup had to be redrawn at the end.
The matchmaker was surprised to find out that during this makeup, Shen Qing’s expression was a little more energetic as compared to previously. At least it looked like she was alive.
When Shen Yue and Shen Miao came over to send the gifts, Shen Qing even smiled at both of them.
Now that Shen Qing was pregnant, her body was somewhat swollen and coupled with her anxiousness these days, she looked haggard even upon putting makeup. Her smile did not showcase a young lady’s delicateness but looked somewhat weird and scary.
“Eldest Sister must take care of yourself.” Shen Yue eyes were red as she spoke.
“Definitely.” Shen Qing concurred before looking at Shen Miao and coughed, “I will definitely return Fifth Younger Sister’s benevolence to me.”
Even though it was said with a smile, the hate and viciousness made Shen Yue shudder.
“I will wait.” Shen Miao also smiled lightly.
Afterwards things became much more natural. Old Shen Furen avoided meeting Shen Qing and Shen Qing could only talk to Ren Wan Yun. Because this marriage was not considered a glorious thing, everyone in the Shen residence felt embarrassed. Those festive actions and wishes were all done carelessly.
At the end when going to the wedding sedan, it was Shen Yuan who carried Shen Qing up the sedan. The thing that made one feel most embarrassed was that Prince Yu of the First Rank did not came to fetch the bride and only sent a housekeeper ahead.
When Shen Yuan was carrying Shen Qing, the commoners around the General residence were all pointing fingers of blame at them and there were all sorts of stuff that were spreading among them. Some mentioned that Shen Qing had no sense of shame and was fickle. Even if Ren Wan Yun’s and Shen Yuan’s hearts were filled with anger, public clamour could obscure the truth and they could not kill all the commoners.
When the sedan finally left, Shen Yuan returned to the main doors of the Shen residence and stood by Shen Miao, “Fifth Younger Sister looks calm.”
“The person marrying is not me, why would I not be calm?” Shen Miao answered.
“Fifth Younger Sister knows what the future will be like when Qing-er marries over?”
“What the future will be is not what you and I can decide.”
Shen Yuan seemed not to have heard Shen Miao’s words and only minded his own, “The events in the world are ever changing. Sometimes there is no room to advance or retreat, but one does not know if the willow trees would make shade and the flowers would give light. There are times when even though there seems to be an optimistic road in front but one cannot say precisely.” His voice suddenly deepened, “It is that one had forced themselves to the dead end.”
“Exactly.” Shen Miao smiled, “No one can say for sure what will happen in the world. Some people may have the luck of misfortune but it could be that there is no more road in front.”
Shen Yuan finally turned his head over and looked at Shen Miao directly. His eyes sized her up which made others especially uncomfortable, and the things others were uncomfortable were also his words. He said, “I only found out today that Fifth Younger Sister is actually a smart person.”
Shen Miao declined to comment but heard a roar from behind, “Younger Sister.” Shen Qiu ran over in a hurry and looked warningly at Shen Yuan before saying to Shen Miao, “Younger Sister should not run around, there are so many evildoers outside, knowing a person but not understanding one’s true nature, who knows what would happen.”
Shen Yuan glanced at Shen Qiu before laughing, “Eldest Brother really knows how to joke, what’s more Fifth Younger Sister is so smart that one fears that no one will be able to scheme against her. As for the phrase of ‘knowing a person but not understanding one’s true nature’, perhaps there is someone else more suitable for it.”
Shen Qiu sneered, “My Younger Sister has a pure and virtuous natural disposition which cannot be compared to those sinister villains. I as an older brother naturally would need to constantly worry, else those wolves would eat her whole. Younger Sister let’s go. We will sit in the horse carriage to the residence of the Prince of First Rank.
Shen Yuan looked at the back view of the two siblings and a flash of viciousness appeared in his eyes.
The Shen family wedding sedan had to travel over half of the city of Ding capital and it was going along the most flourishing of streets. After all this was a marriage that was bestowed by the Empress so the parade was naturally extravagant. Even though everyone knew that this marriage was not glorious, but one still had to beat the drums and strike the gongs to make it well known.
In the most wealthy section of the road, at the seat by the window of Kuai Huo Lou, a white clad gentleman was there as usual slightly moving his folding fan as he watched the commotion of the wedding entourage. The entourage was throwing coins as they walked and those commoners who were watching the commotion all went up to snatch them, so it seemed to be filled with jubilation.
However what kind of feeling there was, only the person in the sedan knew.
“This marriage of the Shen family is really quite big.” Ji Yu Shu played with the silver in his hands as he said, “I have not seen for a long time such a lively marriage. Do not know in the future when I marry Young Lady Shao Yao, will it be such a grand occasion.”
“Still thinking about that Young Lady Shao Yao of yours.” Gao Yang looked at him, “Yu Shu, I remember you still have a fiancée. Does that fiancée of yours know how particularly attentive you are to Young Lady Shao Yao?”
“Already said that that was a joke made when we were babies, who knows how she looks now. I am not going to marry her. I just love Young Lady Shao Yao. If Young Lady Shao Yao is not possible then the Fifth Young Lady of the Shen family is also not bad.” He laughed and looked towards the person opposite, “Third Older Brother Xie, is it right?”
Xie Jing Xing glanced at him and was too lazy to speak. Gao Yang laughed out, “One fears that you have no life to marry Shen Miao.”
“What! I value her intelligence, sharpness and courage greatly.” Ji Yu Shu was not convinced, “Besides, she also looks not bad. Heard that previously she liked that boy, Prince Ding. How can a young lady’s eyes be that bad? Prince Ding can be compared to me?”
Gao Yang looked at Ji Yu Shu, “You are capable. But this Shen Young Lady of yours will be in trouble quickly.”
“What kind of trouble?” Ji Yu Shu asked.
“Shen Qing’s older brother, Shen Yuan has returned.” Gao Yang said with some rejoicing at other’s misfortune, “Shen Miao swindled Shen Qing into the Prince residence, Shen Yuan will definitely not let Shen Miao off. This Shen Yuan is not an oil saving lamp. In the Second household of the General residence, one fears that even Shen Gui cannot be compared to Shen Yuan for being circumspect and foreseeing. Moreover this Shen Yuan is vicious and merciless and when he takes action, he would never waver.”
“Shen Yuan seems like not an ordinary person.” Ji Yu Shu suddenly remembered something, “Is he not Fu Xiu Yi’s person?”
“Only a small little bandit.” Xie Jing Xing suddenly spoken and glanced below, “A little clown jumping around can attract your attention.”
“Ha. You are still this arrogant.” Gao Yang asked, “What is next?”
Wait for people to start the game and then plug the leaks.