Chapter 244: Auspicious Day for Marriage
Xia Yuqing, and the others stared in astonishment at the man who suddenly appeared at the end of the corridor. He looked refined and composed.
The man appeared to be in his early forties, with a handsome face somewhat resembling Shao Zitang’s. His face was filled with a gentle smile, unlike Shao Zitang’s sharp and aggressive demeanor, but rather more approachable.
What a refined and gentle middle-aged beauty! Of course, this was under the premise of not paying attention to the black soot on his face from the kitchen.
Just as everyone’s attention was drawn to this elegant man, suddenly, they heard a cry of surprise, and then they watched as the powerful and domineering female boss, who was just fighting fiercely on the stage a moment ago, acted like a butterfly fluttering around flowers, jumping into the man’s arms with excitement.
“Ah, you’re finally here, hubby! You’ve finally finished cooking! I’ve been starving this whole time. Let’s go eat quickly. Oh? Hubby, there’s some soot on your face.”
“Huh? Where is it? Where is it?” The man was taken aback and quickly tried to wipe it away but was stopped by Madam Shao.
“It’s on your face. Don’t move, I’ll wipe it for you.” Madam Shao took out a handkerchief from her sleeve and carefully wiped away the black soot from the man’s face, smiling as she urged, “There, all done. Let’s go eat now, hurry up.”
Everyone watched in amazement as the woman who was fierce and dominant on the stage just a second ago turned into a gentle, coquettish woman in the man’s arms, without any reservations. They couldn’t help but get goosebumps all over.
“…” The heart of a woman is like a needle at the bottom of the sea; her facial expressions change rapidly, truly eerie! Women, indeed, are a difficult-to-understand species! This is the sentiment shared by all the men present.
Lord Shao, the middle-aged beauty, gently patted the person in his arms, responded lightly, and then held his wife’s hands, preparing to leave.
His wife, like a young wife, obediently followed him, but suddenly, she turned to the still lying on the ground Shao Zitang and shouted, “Little Tang Tang, although you lost, mother will not hold it against you this time. You said just now that you don’t want anyone else, just this girl. In that case, hurry up and marry the girl! Your mother is waiting for grandchildren!”
“!” As soon as Madam Shao said this, everyone was stunned once again.
What did Madam Shao mean? Does this mean she’s accepting Miss Yan and doesn’t mind her background, preparing to let Miss Yan and Shao Zitang be together? Just a moment ago, she was calling for a fight, but now, in a blink of an eye, she’s urging Shao Zitang to marry Miss Yan? This sudden twist was too shocking! They couldn’t keep up with all these changes; it was like their brains were insufficient, and they couldn’t understand everything that was happening before their eyes.
Even Miss Yan, who was directly involved, was puzzled. She thought that she would never gain Madam Shao’s forgiveness for her relationship with Shao Zitang, at least not in the short term. But now, what is this situation? Is Madam Shao acknowledging her?
The only two who remained relatively calm were Feng Tingye and Shao Zitang. The former had anticipated this, and the latter had picked up on some clues from his parents’ conversation and was somewhat prepared.
Shao Zitang squinted his eyes and stared closely at Madam Shao. Just as everyone was still in a daze, and Madam Shao took advantage of the momentary control and pulled his father’s arm, preparing to escape, his face turned slightly dark as he coldly shouted, “Stop!”
Madam Shao and Lord Shao, who were eager to escape, both froze, stiffening their bodies as they turned to look at their son, who was standing not far away with an embarrassed expression, pulling Yan Tingfang in his arms. They were met with a gaze filled with questions and investigations.
Seeing Shao Zitang’s reaction, the other onlookers snapped out of their daze. In an instant, all eyes were focused on Madam Shao, filled with doubt and curiosity.
Feeling a bit guilty under the scrutiny, Madam Shao tried to maintain composure and looked innocent.
Lord Shao, seeing the situation, couldn’t help but cough lightly and tried to ease the tension, saying with a smile, “Um, have you all had lunch yet? It’s getting late. I just finished cooking. If you don’t mind, you’re welcome to stay and have a meal with us. The food won’t taste good if it gets cold.”
“Is there something delicious?” Upon hearing about delicious food, Xia Yuqing’s eyes lit up, and she fixed her gaze on Lord Shao with great enthusiasm. “Are there delicious braised chicken legs?”
“Yes, there are.”
Xia Yuqing hesitated for a moment but still felt unsure. She whispered to Feng Tingye, “Your Majesty, how good is Lord Shao’s cooking?”
Before Feng Tingye could reply, Madam Shao couldn’t bear to stay quiet any longer and stepped forward, saying, “Of course, it’s fantastic. My husband’s culinary skills are the best in the world. I’m not lying. Nobody can compare. If you don’t want to eat, I can finish everything myself.”
Seeing Madam Shao’s smug appearance, Xia Yuqing didn’t think she was faking it. She couldn’t help but be tempted and pulled on Feng Tingye’s sleeve, saying, “Your Majesty… We just had a hasty lunch with the two kids and didn’t eat enough. I’m a little hungry now.”
Feng Tingye looked at Xia Yuqing, who seemed pitiful, and couldn’t help but smile. “Then let’s accept Lord Shao’s kind offer.”
Shao Xitang wanted to ask again, but was stopped by Yan Tingfang, who looked disapprovingly. He lowered his head to see Yan Tingfang’s disapproval and reluctantly said, “Let’s have our meal first.”
So, just moments ago, the mother and son who were at odds, and the onlookers who were nervous, gathered harmoniously at the same dinner table.
Looking at the sumptuous dishes on the table, which were abundant and smelled delicious, Xia Yuqing couldn’t help but exclaim, “It looks so lavish and smells so good. Did Uncle prepare all this himself?”
When Lord Shao heard Xia Yuqing’s praise, he smiled modestly and said, “It’s just some minor cooking skills. Madam likes to eat dishes from various places, so I tried to learn a few tricks from chefs around the country. This way, Madam doesn’t have to go everywhere to satisfy her cravings. Although my cooking can’t compare to those professional chefs, it’s enough to satisfy Madam’s occasional cravings. Please try the dishes to see if they meet your tastes. I didn’t know you were coming, so I prepared them according to Madam’s preferences. I hope they suit your tastes.”
Lord Shao warmly invited everyone to start eating.
“… He’s really a modern domesticated good man. He is willing to put aside his dignity and cook for Madam Shao just for her cravings. What a noble sentiment! Compared to him, I…”
Xia Yuqing turned her head and looked mournfully at Feng Tingye. She also loved to eat. Why didn’t the Ultra Seme Lord sacrifice himself and cook a meal for her, too?
Feng Tingye felt a little uncomfortable being stared at by Xia Yuqing and cleared his throat. “Darling, we have Lu Rui, and that’s enough.”
“…” Such an excuse, Xia Yuqing thought to herself.
! She liked Lu Rui’s food too, but what about when Lu Rui gets married? Then what? Sob, sob, sob…
Xia Yuqing felt that her fragile heart had suffered a devastating blow. To console herself, she decided to turn her anger into appetite and resolutely focused her attention on the dishes on the table.
Just as Xia Yuqing stuffed a chicken leg into her mouth, there was a loud bang, and the entire table with all the bowls and plates jumped.
Startled, Xia Yuqing watched as the chicken leg fell into the soup in front of her, splashing soup all around. Oh no, my chicken leg!
Meanwhile, Shao Zitang sat across from Madam Shao with a stern expression. He raised his hand and slammed it on the table, demanding, “Don’t take me lightly. This matter won’t just be forgotten. Tell me, what exactly happened?”
“…”Why does this family always slam the table when they get angry? The table is innocent, and so is my chicken leg! Xia Yuqing looked towards the culprit not far away, her eyes filled with condemnation for wasting food.
Madam Shao was startled by her son’s sudden outburst, but after recovering, she refused to show weakness and promptly stepped on a nearby chair, showing a domineering stance. She retorted, “Why are you shouting? Do you think you’re something special just because you can raise your voice? I am your mother. I haven’t disciplined you for a few years, and you’ve become so unruly. You’re completely out of control!”
The people sitting at the table were once again stunned by Madam Shao’s boldness, their eyes wide with disbelief. They couldn’t believe what they were witnessing.
Lord Shao was used to seeing her behavior, but he couldn’t help feeling embarrassed by the shocked expressions of the younger generation. He pulled Madam Shao’s sleeve and whispered, “My dear, don’t be agitated, don’t be agitated.”
As if awakening from a dream, Madam Shao realized that there were others present and hurriedly reined in her tomboyish side. She sat up straight, restoring the graceful and virtuous demeanor she had displayed when first meeting Xia Yuqing and the others.
The onlookers were left speechless, wondering if she had a dual personality or if she was originally a heroic woman masquerading as a refined lady!
Shao Zitang looked at his mother’s true nature exposed, yet desperately trying to hide it. He sneered, “I thought you had become more restrained over the years, following father outside to cultivate yourself. But it seems…”
Before Shao Zitang could finish his sentence, Madam Shao once again revealed her true self, slamming her hand on the table and scolding, “What nonsense are you spouting? How can you speak to your own mother like that?”
“…” Actually, we also want to ask, do you have anyone else in your life that you play around with like this? You nearly played your son to death just now, you know? Is it possible that your son was actually adopted?
Xia Yuqing looked at the mother and son with an awkward expression, feeling as though she had knelt before this family of eccentrics.
“Enough, stop with these nonsense. Be straightforward, what exactly happened? If you don’t speak, I’ll take my future daughter-in-law and leave this house right now!”
“You dare!” Madam Shao’s eyes widened as she fiercely retorted, “You can leave if you want, but my daughter-in-law and future grandson must stay!”
“…” Madam Shao, isn’t your attitude changing a bit too quickly? Just now, you were acting like an evil mother-in-law who wanted to drive someone away, but now, you’re welcoming the daughter-in-law and kicking your son out of the house?
Yan Tingfang blushed slightly when she heard Madam Shao’s words. She had been with Shao Zitang for so long, and they were barely even intimate. At most, they held hands occasionally and occasionally gave a peck on the cheek. How could they have a grandson so quickly?
Anticipating Madam Shao’s reaction, Shao Zitang coldly snorted, “Tell the truth.”
Madam Shao’s face darkened, and she also slammed the table, following Shao Zitang’s lead.
Xia Yuqing was startled once again, dropping the sweet and sour spare ribs she had just picked up with her chopsticks. My sweet and sour spare ribs! Why can’t we finish discussing things before eating? I’m angry…
“This whole thing is your fault!” Madam Shao coldly snorted and looked at Shao Zitang, placing all the blame on him. “What does it have to do with me?” Shao Zitang looked at Madam Shao with a puzzled expression.
“You! It’s all your fault! You see, your brothers are all about the same age. Look at Ting Er, he’s already married with two children. That Leng boy, back when we sisters gathered together, we talked about him the most. Everyone was worried that with his temperament, he wouldn’t find a wife or have children. But now? Not only does he have a beautiful wife, but their daughter is also incredibly adorable. The two old people from the Leng family are always playing with their granddaughter, boasting about her to everyone. That appearance makes me want to go up and punch them.”
“…” This was pure jealousy!” Xia Yuqing looked disdainful, realizing a clue from Madam Shao’s words.
Madam Shao continued grumbling, apparently holding onto this resentment for a long time. “And now even that little enchantress who looks better than a girl has already gotten married and is living a fulfilling life.”
“…” If I’m not mistaken, isn’t the young master still bedridden? How can you say he’s living a fulfilling life?”
“Not only him, even the dullard from the He family has already settled his marriage, but the girl is still quite young, so they have to wait a bit longer to marry. Only you, you’re the only one left who’s not doing well! Fubo said you brought back a good girl, and I was happy for quite some time. I thought you had finally grown up. Before, you hated bringing people home the most, but now you brought one back, so I thought you were ready to settle down. Because of this, your father and I hurried back from that remote place, only to find out that you two are just dragging your feet, even though you both like each other. It’s not that you’re not in a hurry, it’s me, your mother, who can’t stand waiting!”
“…” So, you couldn’t help but intervene? Xia Yuqing understood and sighed internally, acknowledging that this unexpected intervention did play a role in pushing things forward.
Lord Shao, seeing Xia Yuqing’s puzzled expression, tried to smooth things over, “My wife is a bit impatient and straightforward, but she didn’t mean any harm. Don’t take it too seriously.”
Before Lord Shao’s words could be fully heard, Madam Shao slammed the table again, giving up all pretenses. “In the martial world, we don’t have to be overly polite.”
Xia Yuqing and the others fell silent.
Xia Yuqing was stunned for a moment. She cleared her throat and cautiously asked, “So, Madam Shao, did you actually know about Miss Yan’s past?”
As soon as Xia Yuqing finished speaking, Shao Zitang noticed that the person beside him was starting to feel a bit cold again. The hand that had never let go, tightened slightly, silently conveying comforting words that only they could understand.
Yan Tingfang hesitated for a moment, then lowered her head quietly. She intertwined her hand with his and gently clasped his long fingers. A faint smile appeared on her lips.
Madam Shao listened to Xia Yuqing’s question and didn’t hide the truth. After a moment of contemplation, she said, “Well, yes, I knew from the beginning. After all, she is going to be my future daughter-in-law. If I didn’t investigate her background thoroughly, how could I feel at ease?”
“But on that day, in front of Gorgeous Grand Tutoru’s residence, you…” Xia Yuqing asked with some confusion.
“Gorgeou Grand Tutor? You mean the little enchantress, ah, yes, that nickname suits her well,” Madam Shao said with a chuckle.
“Yeah, exactly! I feel the same way,” Xia Yuqing’s eyes lit up suddenly, feeling a sense of camaraderie with Madam Shao.
“Ahem…” Feng Tingye coughed lightly, redirecting the conversation back on track.
Madam Shao restrained her expression and spoke seriously, “Yes, I did it intentionally. You see, at that time, I was troubled by the two of them being so reserved, so when there was an opportunity, I didn’t want to let it go to waste.”
“…” So you knew everything from the beginning, and afterward, you just enjoyed watching us struggle? Xia Yuqing was shocked by this cruel truth.
“Those things you said in front of Gorgeous Grand Tutoru’s residence that day, were they also intentional?”
As soon as Xia Yuqing asked, Yan Tingfang’s face turned pale. Madam Shao noticed every detail and nodded, saying, “Yes, I said those things to force that brat to stand up for the girl. Even if he didn’t stand up, the girl would be hurt, and that brat should console her. Their feelings would progress rapidly in that case. Who knew that brat would be so clueless? He didn’t stand up for her, and when she returned with an unpleasant expression, he didn’t even know to accompany her. He’s truly clueless about romance. If he didn’t resemble my husband and me so much, I would think he wasn’t my own child.”
“…” Your treatment of Little Shangshu indeed doesn’t seem like that of a biological mother!
“I-I mean, it’s not like that…” Shao Zitang felt a bit embarrassed as Madam Shao brought up the incident from that day. His supposed lack of urgency was just a pretense. The truth was, he was shy about showing too much intimacy with a girl in public. In other words, in a certain aspect, someone who was still quite inexperienced in that area felt ashamed… and shy.
If he had known that, he wouldn’t have been so preoccupied and caused his mother to create so much mess. Oh, he regretted it deeply!
Madam Shao glared at her son, looking quite stern. “You, with your speed, when will your father and I be able to hold our grandchild? So, I had no choice but to resort to drastic measures.”
Xia Yuqing and the others looked at Madam Shao’s expression of “sigh, my son is useless, I have to handle everything myself, one person doing the work of two. My heart is tired, life is so helpless, I feel like there’s no love, is it that hard to hold a grandchild?” They silently lit a candle for Shao Zitang. Having such a mother, Little Shangshu (Lord Shangshu), may you rest in peace!
“So, mother, everything that happened today was just a play directed and acted by you?” Shao Zitang kept a cold expression, his eyes fixed firmly on his mother. It was as if he would pounce on her if she uttered a single word of affirmation.
“…” So, when she said she barged in, they were actually waiting for someone all along. But not for her.
“My son, don’t look at me like that. I’ll think you’re deeply in love with your mother. Although you and your father have some resemblance, a person like me, so deeply in love and resolute, won’t be deceived by your superficial appearance,” Madam Shao looked at Shao Zitang with a face full of tender resentment, refusing to be swayed by his false appearance.
“…Mother, speak plainly.” Shao Zitang replied with gritted teeth.
Madam Shao’s expression straightened, feeling a little embarrassed. “It’s not entirely my fault. If you had been more proactive from the beginning, would I have had to resort to such tactics? Besides, I’m doing this to help you. If it weren’t for this fuss, you two wouldn’t be so close, just look at how your hands are still holding each other.”
Upon hearing this, a blush crept across the face of Yan Tingfang. She hurriedly tried to retract her hand from Shao Zitang’s grasp, but he was one step ahead, not letting go, but holding it even tighter.
Feeling the gazes from all around focused on their joined hands, Yan Tingfang became even more embarrassed. She lowered her head, allowing the blush to spread from her neck to her face, but she didn’t insist on pulling her hand away.
“In that case, I should thank you, Mother.” Shao Zitang clenched his teeth, making Xia Yuqing and the others feel a chill down their spines.
“Cough…” Xia Yuqing saw that the situation was turning unfavorable, so she quickly intervened, “Madam Shao is just doing it for Little Shangshu’s own good.”
“Hmph!” Shao Zitang coldly snorted and fell silent.
Upon hearing Xia Yuqing’s words, Madam Shao immediately sent a grateful glance her way. Xia Yuqing smiled back, still feeling curious. “Does Madam Shao really not mind about what happened with Miss Yan?”
Even though Madam Shao was a person from the martial world, wouldn’t she still care about such matters? The customs in ancient times weren’t so open, especially for such prominent families.
“At first, it was a lie when I said I didn’t mind.”
“!” Madam Shao’s words once again plunged the atmosphere at the dining table into tension.
“But later, I learned the whole story from Qianrou, and I didn’t mind as much.”
Qianrou? Wasn’t that the Empress Dowager’s maiden name? Xia Yuqing turned her head to look at Feng Tingye in surprise. “Madam Shao had already consulted Empress Dowager, so did you already know about this?”
“…” Feng Tingye smiled faintly, looked up at Madam Shao, and said, “After meeting Madam Shao at the Grand Tutor’s residence that day, I went to see my mother in the palace. My mother didn’t plan to hide anything from me and told me about Madam Shao’s worries about her daughter-in-law and future grandchild, suggesting that I shouldn’t interfere.”
“… “So you knew from the beginning. That’s why you were so calm earlier!
Madam Shao glanced at Feng Tingye and sneered, “As expected, young Feng is still as shrewd as before. When did you realize something was wrong?”
If he hadn’t noticed anything, this kid wouldn’t have come to ask his mother about it.
Feng Tingye smiled, “That day at the Grand Tutor’s residence, when Madam Shao said those things, I felt something was off. Though you are straightforward, you’re not the type to say hurtful things. Besides, my mother also told me that when you entered the Shao family, you faced many obstacles from the old lady…”
Madam Shao stared deeply at Feng Tingye, then shifted her gaze to the opposite side where Yan Tingfang was sitting. She said with a low voice, “The Shao family doesn’t tolerate a woman from the martial world as the mistress of the house.”
Yan Tingfang trembled all over, her face turned pale. She couldn’t help lowering her head, afraid to meet Madam Shao’s piercing gaze.
“Look at me!” Madam Shao suddenly gave a low halt, startling Yan Tingfang, who reflexively widened her eyes and looked at Madam Shao.
“Mother…” Shao Zitang saw this and wanted to stop Madam Shao from embarrassing Yan Tingfang, but a warning glance from Lord Shao stopped him.
“The Shao family doesn’t tolerate a woman from the martial world as the mistress of the house. Those were the words the old lady said to me back then.”
Yan Tingfang’s eyes suddenly shrank, finding it hard to believe what Madam Shao was saying.
Madam Shao smiled and continued, “Once, the old lady also looked down on me, a woman from the martial world, thinking that I was crude and unsophisticated, unworthy of their high-status family. But now, look at how things have changed. She looked down on me the most, yet in the end, I became the person she relied on and trusted the most. Fang Er, though others may see me as dignified and reserved, that’s just a facade. I’m not someone who sticks to outdated rules. As Zitang said, everything about you happened before you met him, and that can’t be changed by anyone. Since it’s the case, let me ask you, have you ever regretted your past choices?”
Yan Tingfang hesitated for a moment, then firmly said, “I don’t regret it, and I don’t have time to regret it because it serves no purpose.”
If she had a chance to choose again, Yan Tingfang felt she would still choose the same path. At that time, she had no choice; she wanted revenge, to seek justice for her parents, and she had to continue living.
Madam Shao’s eyes showed a hint of approval. She patted the table lightly and smiled, “Exactly! Regrets are just empty words. Some things can’t be changed, so step over them. That’s the attitude a future daughter-in-law of the Shao family should have.”
“Step over them?”
“Yes, you’ve been avoiding that part of your past, but from now on, make sure no one dares to mention it to you again.” Madam Shao’s eyes chilled, and a faint light flashed in them.
Yan Tingfang’s heart trembled, and after a moment, she composed herself and said, “Thank you, Madam Shao. I have learned from you.”
“At this point, you still call me ‘Madam Shao’?”
Yan Tingfang was taken aback and turned to look at Shao Zitang. Seeing that he had no reaction, she softly called out, “Mother.”
“Very well, very well. Let’s discuss your marriage next. I’ve checked, and seven days from now is an auspicious day according to the Yellow Calendar, suitable for weddings. Let’s do it on that day.”
“So soon!” Shao Zitang exclaimed, surprised, and the others around him were also dumbfounded.
Madam Shao glared at him, “Is this considered fast? Do you know how far behind you are compared to others? Or are all those words you said just empty talk, and you have no intention of marrying the girl?”
“…No, it’s not like that.”
Shao Zitang couldn’t finish his words before Madam Shao interrupted him quickly, “Then it’s settled. Seven days from now, you two will be married. Husband, later, send out the wedding invitations, prepare our son’s wedding properly, and it must not be any less grand than that of the little enchantress and the Leng boy!”
Shao Zitang: “…”
“Aunt Shao, have you considered the elders in the Shao family who might have opinions about bringing Yan girl into the family?” Feng Tingye, who had been envisioning everything thoroughly, narrowed his eyes and reminded.
Madam Shao’s gaze turned cold, and she sneered, “Husband, what do you think of Fang Er as a daughter-in-law?”
Lord Shao replied with a smile, “As long as our son likes her, it’s good enough.”
“I think she’s quite good. Since both of us parents have no objections, why should we care about the opinions of those old folks who only eat and live on our support?”
Xia Yuqing looked at Madam Shao admiringly. Wow, she’s like an ancient version of a powerful woman! Her expression clearly said: Humph, if I have no objections to my son’s marriage, you old folks who only eat my food and live under my support dare to utter a single word, I’ll kick you out to fend for yourselves!
Thus, under Madam Shao’s decisive decision, the wedding of Shao Zitang and Yan Tingfang was hastily prepared, leaving everyone astonished once again by her resolute and fiery style.
The news of Shao Zitang’s upcoming marriage spread, and the hearts of young girls in the capital shattered again. They mourned the loss of this talented and handsome young man. However, it wasn’t just the ladies who were heartbroken; the two pitiful men in Xia Yuqing’s palace also felt the same.
After witnessing Yan Ran and Leng Ruofeng’s wedding last time, Yun Zhongyue and Su Wuduan had already suffered a terrible blow. For these seniors who had obtained their beauties, the two invisible hungry wolves were full of envy and jealousy!
And now, not long after, someone else was getting married!
This time, the two brothers were completely stirred up. Why? Why? Why had everyone else already gotten married, and they were still struggling and achieving nothing? They couldn’t continue like this!
Thus, the stimulated Yun Zhongyue and Su Wuduan decided not to die in silence but to break free and take risks.
“Heh heh, our Eldest Senior Brother is quite brave lately, huh? Going to climb Cui Er’s wall almost every night, trying to perform night raids. I never knew he had such courage!” Xia Yuqing yawned and listened to the latest news reported by a maidservant, feeling amazed.
“That’s right! I heard last night’s battle was intense. Young Master Su was thrown out of the window by Miss Cui several times and still didn’t give up. Finally, Miss Cui couldn’t take it anymore and punched him, sending him down. Then, everything was peaceful. I heard someone saw Young Master Su this morning with huge black circles under his eyes. Looks like he won’t be able to meet anyone for a few days.” The maidservant giggled while reporting.
“Is that so?” Xia Yuqing’s eyes lit up. She was really curious to see what kind of state her Eldest Senior Brother was in now!
“Um, and recently, I’ve noticed that Young Master Yun is also acting strangely.”
“Second Senior Brother? What’s wrong with him?” Xia Yuqing asked with some confusion.
“Madam, you’d better see for yourself.” The maidservant covered her mouth and laughed, pointing to the front.
Xia Yuqing looked in the direction the maid pointed and saw Yun Zhongyue following Lu Rui, walking toward them with a somewhat awkward demeanor.
“That, Miss Lu Rui, don’t walk so fast!” Yun Zhongyue was not as bold as Su Wuduan; he was just trying out a pestering strategy. These days, he stuck to Lu Rui wherever she went, not like before, where he followed her secretly. This time, he was openly sticking to her.
Lu Rui had been annoyed by him these days and turned her head, looking unfriendly, “Young Master Yun, why are you always following me? What do you want?”
Could it be that he wanted to steal something to eat from her again? How could he still be like a child, always trying to get free meals by stealing? Lu Rui couldn’t help but think that Yun Zhongyue was just another freeloader.
If Yun Zhongyue knew Lu Rui’s thoughts, he might vomit blood.
“Miss Lu Rui, you see, the Grand Tutor and the Prime Minister have gotten married, and Lord Shangshu is also about to marry. Shouldn’t we…?” Yun Zhongyue awkwardly hinted, completely focused on winning over the person in front of him. He had no idea that a group of people had quickly moved behind him, eagerly waiting to witness what would unfold.
Lu Rui looked at him with a puzzled expression. She couldn’t understand why the marriages of the Grand Tutor and the Prime Minister were of any concern to her. Although she was happy for them, she, as a young maid, didn’t think she needed to contribute anything to their weddings. Moreover, Yun Zhongyue said ‘we’? When did they become ‘we’? Why doesn’t she have any idea about it?
Lu Rui looked puzzled and said, “I do know about the affairs of the Grand Tutor and the Prime Minister getting married. But, I’m just a servant girl, and I don’t have much money to buy elaborate gifts for them. The Empress also said that it’s the thought that counts. If you want to discuss this matter, you should go talk to the Empress. I really don’t understand these things and can’t be of much help. Can you please step aside for now? I’m in a hurry to help the Empress prepare breakfast.”
Having finished speaking, Lu Rui attempted to bypass Yun Zhongyue and head towards the kitchen, but Yun Zhongyue stopped her once again. This time, Lu Rui was getting a bit annoyed. She said, “Yun Gongzi, why do you keep bothering me lately? It’s fine when we have free time to walk together, but right now, time is pressing. The Empress should be done dressing up, and we need to prepare breakfast. Because you’ve been pestering me, I haven’t been able to prepare breakfast yet, and the Empress might get hungry. If anything happens because of that, how will you take responsibility? Please step aside quickly!”
Yun Zhongyue saw the displeased expression on Lu Rui’s face and became even more anxious. He fumbled and said, “I… I didn’t mean to bother you. I just… I just have something to tell you. Can you please listen to me first before you go?”
Hiding behind a pillar, Xia Yuqing heard Yun Zhongyue’s words and got excited as if she had been injected with chicken blood. Could it be that Second Senior Brother wants to confess to Lu Rui? He couldn’t bear it anymore, right?
Lu Rui was also taken aback by Yun Zhongyue’s anxious demeanor. She hesitated for a moment, then said, “Alright, I’m listening. Go ahead and speak.”
Yun Zhongyue took a deep breath and blurted out, “Lu Rui, what do you think about us getting married too, like the Grand Tutor and the Prime Minister?”
“!” Second Senior Brother, you really know how to make a grand entrance! This straightforward and forceful proposal doesn’t seem like you at all!
Lu Rui was also startled by Yun Zhongyue’s unexpected confession. She bravely reached out and touched his forehead, then touched her own, saying, “Strange, you don’t have a fever. Why are you saying such nonsense?”
Yun Zhongyue obviously didn’t expect Lu Rui’s reaction. He hurriedly explained, “I’m not talking nonsense!”
“Then, are you joking? This joke is not funny at all.”
“I’m not joking either, Lu Rui, I genuinely like you. Please believe me!”
“What?” Lu Rui widened her eyes, looking incredulous, and pointed at herself, “Yun Gongzi, you say you like me?”
“Of course! Why else would I linger here?” Yun Zhongyue didn’t expect such a response, his face full of eagerness.
“You linger here because our Niang Niang, your little martial sister, is here, and you can freeload, right?” Lu Rui’s innocent eyes widened.
With a thud, the people hiding behind the pillar slipped and fell to the ground upon hearing Lu Rui’s words. Lu Rui, how oblivious can you be?
“So, Lu Rui, you never knew that I liked you?” Yun Zhongyue’s hand trembled, his face turning deathly pale as he stared at Lu Rui.
Looking aggrieved, Lu Rui said, “How could I know if you never told me?”
Yun Zhongyue looked at Lu Rui’s innocent face and couldn’t hold back. He rolled his eyes and fell backward.
“Oh dear, Yun Gongzi, why did you faint? I knew you must be sick; otherwise, why would you keep talking nonsense? Wake up, quickly!”
Xia Yuqing slowly got up from the ground, wiping the cold sweat from her forehead. Second Senior Brother, I have to say, even if Lu Rui is a bit slow, you proposing so directly without even confessing first, and such a straightforward proposal at that, who would believe you? Sigh…
Xia Yuqing glanced around and seemed to have noticed something, asking in confusion, “Huh, where’s Yun Xi? I haven’t seen her around lately.”
“Didn’t you forget, Madam? She’s been busy helping with the preparations for the wedding at the Shao Manor.”
Only then did Xia Yuqing remember that Yun Xi, as the nominal maternal relative of Yan Tingfang, had been busy at the Shao Manor recently. She nodded, saying, “Oh, I almost forgot.”
At the same time, the room in the Shangshu Manor was draped with red silk. Yun Xi looked at the woman reflected in the bronze mirror and smiled, “Sister Fang looks beautiful. You’ll be even more beautiful when you put on the wedding dress.”
Yan Tingfang smiled but didn’t reply.
At this moment, footsteps suddenly sounded from outside. Soon, several people saw Madam Shao leading a group of maids walking in with a kind smile, “Fang Er, I’ve come to bring you the wedding dress. Try it on and see if it fits. If it doesn’t, we can have it altered.”
Yan Tingfang nodded and took the bright red wedding dress. She hesitated and didn’t rush to put it on.
“What’s wrong? Don’t like it?”
Yan Tingfang shook her head and looked at Madam Shao, saying, “Mother, there’s something I want to talk to you about.”
Madam Shao was taken aback, and the smile on her face faded slightly, “Everyone else, please leave.”
“Xiao Xi, you leave as well.” Yan Tingfang glanced at Yun Xi behind her and added in a low voice.
Although Yun Xi was worried, she still nodded and followed the group of maids out.
After everyone had left the room, Madam Shao spoke, “They’re all gone. What do you want to say?”
“I’ve been wanting to talk to you about something.” Yan Tingfang blushed slightly, slowly reaching out to lift the clothes on her right hand, “Actually, I…”
When Madam Shao saw something on Yan Tingfang’s fair arm, her pupils suddenly contracted. “!”