God is so unfair.
Third Madam Ning whirled her fan.
“So he also sacrificed his life to save the Emperor.” She said, “What is this all about?”
Fourth Madam Ning sat on the kang, although she did not have a fan, she waved a handkerchief.
“There are many loopholes in the fabrication.” She said, “It’s ridiculous.”
Madam Ning, who was sitting on the other side of the kang, still had a peaceful look, and her eyebrows became even more loving.
“But it is also the karma of repaying the Buddha to help benevolent people,” she said.
“Sister-in-law,” Third Madam Ning cried out disapprovingly, “benevolent people, how can they be benevolent people, they are benevolent to the Emperor but not to us. You see what they do.”
“Murdering and searching the city, and almost setting fires.” Fourth Lady Ning added, “Is it possible that the Emperor’s imperial edict is for them to be so arrogant?”
“It was not about finding someone.” Madam Ning said softly, “If the children in the family are lost, it is inevitable that the elders will be anxious.”
“Yeah, just a fifteen-year-old who doesn’t return home at night,” Fourth Lady Ning emphasized the word fifteen, “and yet they created such a scandal1. Like wolves and tigers2, they searched the city and broke into households.”
“Did eldest brother tell second brother about these things? The Fang family’s action must be reported to the Emperor,” Third Madam Ning said.
When she said this, Master Ning came in followed by Ning Yunyan.
After a few months of not going out, doing needlework and managing the housekeeping and yard, she looked a lot more rounded.
She also looked a little sluggish and bored.
After entering through the door, she gave a salute to her mother and two aunts, and stood aside without saying a word.
“How can this matter be spoken of by second brother?” Master Ning frowned and said, “There is no need for the second brother to say this kind of thing, the Jinyiwei will report it.”
“It has been so long since then, how come there’s been no movement up or down?” Fourth Madam Ning said, “Why are the Jinyiwei behaving like cats this time?”
“Naturally, because His Majesty the Emperor will not allow any movement.” Master Ning said, “This goes without saying.”
Of course, this went without saying. The women of the Ning family were not stupid enough not to guess, but after confirming this fact, they were still indignant.
“It’s really unreasonable.” Third Madam Ning said, shaking her fan in hatred.
“You don’t have to laugh at how ridiculous the Fang family’s story is.” Master Ning said and sat down in a chair.
Ning Yunyan immediately poured tea and brought it over.
Master Ning took a sip.
“This story is for the common people to hear. Naturally it suites their tastes: quirky and bizarre.” He said, looking at Madam Ning, “It has the cycle of karma where virtue is rewarded3. There are Gods and Buddhas and the Son of Heaven. There are thrilling dangers and dangers averted4, and there are unexpected rewards. The twists and turns are fascinating. This kind of story will spread. As for the absurdity of the loopholes, the people don’t care. ”
“Then the officials don’t care either?” Third Madam Ning said.
Master Ning smiled.
“Of course the officials in charge care.” he said, “It is enough for them to care whether this edict is true or not. And as for how the edict came about, they can ask privately. Can it be discussed openly, can it still be questioned? That was the time of the First Emperor.”
He took another sip of tea.
“His Majesty is a filial son.” He said meaningfully.
When the Emperor first ascended the throne, his life was in danger and he was heavily criticized. It is said that he was forced to agree to giving filial piety to the former Emperor, otherwise it was understood that he would have to have killed himself at that time.
Since the Fang family said that this was the edict given by the previous Emperor, how could the emperor possibly question it?
Besides, it had also been verified that it was indeed the handwriting and jade seal of the First Emperor, and it is recorded in the book.
Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning glanced at each other, somewhat uneasy and helpless.
“Then there really is no one in this Fang family who can be messed with.”
“Whether they find themselves in trouble is not with others, but with their own actions,” Master Ning said, “unrighteous deeds will lead to downfall.”
“How did this object appear in Yangcheng?” Third Madam Ning said, very indignant.
The most important thing was that this object was still somewhat involved with their Ning family.
“Don’t worry about them. If they come to search our house, I will open the door and let them search. They can search whatever they want.” Master Ning smiled, “It’s fine to search our house.”
Saying so, he laughed.
“Holding the imperial decree is not the same as the person who wrote the imperial decree, but don’t lose your sense of propriety and forget your duty.”
In the old affairs of the previous dynasty, there were many meritorious high-ranking officials who held edicts, and in the end, a few others acted arrogantly and fled to escape death.
The Fang family took the imperial decree to avenge and absolve injustice, and mobilized troops and officials to find someone and search a city. Although arrogant, it was tolerable. But this is the kind of thing that can be brought out once or twice but not three times. Especially if the imperial decree is used to interfere with court officials, it won’t just be the people coming out to question it.
Madam Ning, Third Madam Ning, Fourth Madam Ning and the others all had smiles on their faces.
“However, what if they didn’t want to search our home, but take the imperial decree to force us to admit our engagement with the Jun family?” Ning Yunyan, who had been silent all along, said suddenly.
The laughter in the room subsided, and the expressions of the four of them froze.
After all, their concern about another family’s imperial decree is not because of the disputes in the past.
The dispute was originally due to their different status, and they should have had the upper hand.
But once or twice, they suffered from dumb losses, and they couldn’t afford to provoke or to hide. Instead, they just took a step back to wait and see.
As a result, before they had taken any more steps or had a long-term plan, the Fang family had taken out the imperial decree.
A merchant actually received the same treatment as someone who was a founding hero.
This was really depressing.
Master Ning twisted his beard and snorted.
“You think that the reason why my father decided to marry the Jun family was because he knew that the Fang family had an imperial decree from an unusual origin?” he said suddenly.
Madam Ning clapped her hand on the table.
This action shocked the people in the room again.
Madam Ning rarely got angry like this.
“You, how can you think of your father like this?” Madam Ning said angrily, “What kind of person do you take your father as.”
Oh so she was mad because of this.
The atmosphere in the room eased, and Master Ning also laughed.
Still, speaking this way was rather disrespectful to his esteemed father. He coughed lightly to resolve the embarrassment.
“Yanyan does not have to worry about this.” He looked at Ning Yunyan and said, “The Fang family’s edict was only known to the Fang family, and Old Lady Fang knew about it. At the beginning, Miss Jun didn’t know about it and when everything was in such a mess, Old Lady Fang didn’t even take it out to threaten and coerce, and she won’t now either.”
“Yeah, now this Miss Jun is already a wife of the Fang family.” Madam Ning said, shaking her fan with disgust, “If the young master of the Fang family dies of illness and she becomes a widow, then she might take out the imperial decree and force us her to remarry into our family. She can do such shameless things. But the young master of the Fang family is now well and won’t die, would he want to take out the imperial decree and put a green hat on himself?”
“What nonsense are you talking about?” Madam Ning glared at her and said angrily, “In front of the child.”
Third Madam Ning looked at Ning Yunyan.
“Yanyan, that’s why I told you not to go out. Being entangled by this young lady will make you dirty,” she said.
Ning Yunyan smiled and gave thanks.
“I know Auntie.” She said obediently and patted her heart again, full of happiness. “Fortunately, my brother escaped, so I was just thinking that such a good brother can’t be unlucky.”
“Speaking of which, has it been a long time since I wrote a letter to Yunzhao?” Master Ning said, “Write a letter to ask him how he’s been recently.”
“You’re not a child, yet you still worry so much.”Madam Ning smiled and looked at Ning Yunyan, “You can write a letter for your brother.”
Ning Yunyan responded yes.
After speaking of the person that this family was proud of, the atmosphere in the room became joyful. At this moment there were urgent footsteps outside the door, and a servant woman lifted the curtain and walked in with a panicked face.
“Madam, the Fang family’s affairs are being talked about again,” she said urgently.
Did the Fang family keep talking about it? What a fuss.
“So bothersome.” Fourth Madam Ning said with anger, “My ears are developing calluses.”
“No, this time it isn’t about the Fang family’s edict.” The servant woman said hurriedly, “It’s about the wife of the young master.”
Wife of the young master?
These words made the people in the room look startled.
Jun Zhenzhen? What was there to say about her?
With a crackling sound, the crowded tea house fell silent, and all eyes were on the high platform.
The storyteller on the high platform opened his folding fan.
“Today I’m not talking about the old affairs of the Fang family, but newly discussing a clever person.”
Footnotes and Idioms
1 – 满城风雨 – mǎn chéng fēng yǔ – “wind and rain sweeping through the town”; a big scandal; an uproar; the talk of the town
2 – 如狼似虎 – rú láng sì hǔ – “like wolves and tigers”; ruthless
3 – 善有善报 – shàn yǒu shàn bào – “virtue has its rewards”; one good turn deserves another
4 – 化险为夷 – huà xiǎn wéi yí – “to turn peril into safety”; to avert disaster