Published at 29th of August 2019 06:04:39 AM

Chapter 135

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The Speculation from a Conspiracist (2)


Having put down the teacup, Hai shi sighed, “It turns out that fifth young lady has... has already fallen in love with scholar Wen Yanjing. They had agreed on a date at the Great Grand Temple. Actually they merely just talked a few words. But they were so unlucky! Today was the day when General Gu conducted a religious rite for his dead mother!”

Minglan’s eyes nearly popped out. Then she asked, “He, he saw... fifth sister?”

Feeling deeply disturbed, Hai shi shook her head and said, “No. But you know why I have said they were unlucky? General Gu didn’t go there by himself because he has been busy. Besides, he has never met fifth young lady before, so he wouldn’t know that was her even if he was there. It was a woman servant in his mansion who brought donation to the rite under his order saw fifth young lady and Wen Jingyan when she came out to give away clothes and hats for the young monks. And she happened to have seen us when she had given presents!”

After hearing this, Minglan was already frozen on the bed, feeling reluctant to move or speak. Then she heard Hai shi sighing and continuing, “I guess that servant reported to General Gu the moment she went back. In the afternoon, a boy servant came to the Department of Supervision to see Master. After that, Master went back home at once!... Under his interrogation, fifty young lady only said that she had already resigned to her fate and this time she had only gone there to say her farewell to scholar Wen.”

Minglan almost lost her breath after hearing the whole story. After a long while, she could only utter those words, “... How could fifth sister be so careless!”

Hai shi only sighed slightly without saying anything else. In fact, she agreed with Minglan’s words. Since Rulan had already made up her mind to break up with scholar Wen, then everything would be fine if their relationship was covered up well. But today her future husband’s servant had seen her bid a tearful farewell to Scholar Wen. That was such a bad luck!

“... So what now?” After a good while, Minglan asked feebly. Suddenly she found Hai shi avoiding her eyes and not daring to look at her. Minglan found that quite strange, so she asked several times her former question. Then Hai shi spoke with hesitation, “General sent a letter just now...”

Before Hai shi could finish her sentence, they heard the sound of hectic footsteps from the front hall. Cuiping called out from the outside, “Master and Madam are here.”

Minglan glanced at Hai shi who looked perturbed, then turned around to listen to what was happening outside. She could only hear that Sheng Hong was whispering something and Wang shi began to sob. After that, Old Madam Sheng, bursting into great anger, reproached Sheng Hong harshly, “Don’t you dare to think about it! You consider yourself a father? How can you think of a solution like that!”

Her voice sounded sharp and furious. Minglan had never heard Old Madam Sheng being so angry. Having got off the brick bed slowly, she stood next to the thick golden brown cloud patterned brocade curtain, hearing what the people outside were saying.

Sheng Hong said fretfully, “Mother, you have to listen to me. That’s the only way! No one in our mansion has said anything about which daughter of mine would marry in the Gu family. Eldest son-in-law Yuan only told the people in the Gu family that it’s Hualan’s sister who was going to get married with the Second Young Master of Marquis Ningyuan Household. Since Wang shi and I haven’t had a detailed conversation with Gu Tingye and never mentioned which daughter would be betrothed to him, I guess he’s not so sure about that himself. The boy who has passed on the message for him also used subtle words. So Gu Tingye must have sent him to remind instead of blaming us. Since that’s the case, we should take the wrong and make the best of it. After all, Minglan was already registered as my legal daughter. Otherwise, we would start a feud with Gu Tingye. Mom, I was so desperate at that time, so I sent a letter to tell him that Rulan was affianced to Wen Yanjing from the beginning and Minglan was the one who was going to marry to him.”

“Bam!” It was the sound of something smashing on the ground. Must be a teacup. Old Madam said in a trembling voice out of anger, “You wish! You and your wife don’t know how to teach your daughters and let them humiliate our family again and again. At last, it is always someone else who would clear up the mess for them. Last time, I have helped you regardless of my own dignity. And you want to lay your hands on Minglan! I’m telling this, only in your dreams!”

Old Madam Sheng continued as she breathed heavily, “You, what a good mother you are! Have you even considered of Minglan when there was something beneficial to the girls? When the people from a prestigious family coming to inquire about the girls, you decided to let Rulan marry in that family without any hesitation! And now things went wrong, you remembered Minglan! You are such a selfish woman and only consider your own daughter. And you! Sheng Hong, you are blinded by greed and only care about your fame and fortune! What a heartless and evil-minded pair of couple! Do you think that I am already dead?!”

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A thud came through to Minglan’s ears. She assumed that Sheng Hong might have kneeled down heavily. Then she heard Wang shi weeping in a low voice, begging Old Madam Sheng, “Old Madam, you have wronged me. Although I didn’t give birth to Minglan, I have treated her just like Rulan over these years. When have I ever mistreated her? Now Rulan has made such a huge mistake and I also regret that she wasn’t raised by you. Or else she would learn the rules better! Old Madam, after all, you should consider for Hualan. She has already lived a tough life in the Yuan family, fortunately her husband still understands her difficulties and cares about her. If this matter ends badly, General Gu would hold grudge to eldest son-in-law Yuan. Do you know what kind of situation will Hualan face? She was also raised by you. You can’t only favor Minglan!”

Hearing her words, Old Madam Sheng seemed to get choked. But then she still scolded fiercely, “Hualan has already given birth to a boy. Also, Yuan Wenshao and her have a right and legal marriage. You think they would get divorced because of this thing? Do you want Hualan to live an easier life at the cost of her sister’s lifetime of happiness?! You two find that Gu Tingye reliable, but not me!”

Then Sheng Hong shouted, “Old Madam, please tell me what should I do now! I really don’t have any other option! I was intended to strangle that disobedient daughter as a warning to others. At the worst, we would only be sneered by other people. I haven’t taught my daughter well so I should suffer from my own mistake. But General Gu...” Sheng Hong seemed to be choked with sobs as he talked about that, then he continued, “Words came to me days ago that Gu Tingye had already invited Old General Bo and Marquis Zhongqin to be the matchmaker. Now he is about to send the Geng Tie (written marriage proposal on which stated the year, month, day and hour of the man and woman being engaged). If we call and end to the marriage, the Gu family wouldn’t just let it go like that.”

Minglan couldn’t hear clearly about their conversation afterwards. She only felt buzzing in her ears as if something had blocked her sense of hearing. Being left in a trance after hearing the shocking news, she walked toward Hai shi slowly and asked slightly, “Is Gu Tingye really willing to marry me?”

Hai shi nodded with difficulty, saying, “Yes. In his letter, he wrote that he would like to unite the two families by marriage. I think he also mentioned that he always thought highly of the girl raised by Old Madam Sheng.” In her opinion, the words which Gu Tingye had added at the last seemed to be a bit cynical as if he was hinting at something. And she believed that Sheng Hong had also sensed that.

In the early years, Old Madam Sheng had been famous for her jealousy. However, later she had gained high reputation. Because after Old Master Sheng had died, she had decided to support the Sheng Family on her own at the cost of falling out with her parents’ family. As a widow at a young age, she had used the money from her dowry to pave the way for her son’s career and make marry alliance with decent family. That was why Sheng Family could have a prospering condition right now. Over several decades, more and more people began to praise Old Madam Sheng for her tough and upright characters.

Hai shi also felt Minglan and Old Madam Sheng were wronged at this time. She knew that Minglan’s marriage with He Family was about to be settled. After Rulan getting married, He family would send the Geng Tie. Little did she know that... Hai shi couldn’t help but sigh secretly. However, she saw Minglan raising her head blankly in disbelief. After a while, Minglan couldn’t help asking again, “Eldest sister-in-law, that Gu Tingye really has written that he would like to marry me?” There was no aggrieved tone in her voice. Instead, Minglan sounded still suspicious.

Then Hai shi confirmed again, “It’s true.”

As a result, Minglan felt her brain being frozen. She bit her lips as she thought about this for a long time. She remembered Gu Tingye’s ironical look, his habit of getting to the bottom of everything and his extreme temper... Then Minglan realized she must have thought too much. How could she imagine herself as the favorite of Gu Tingye? What had the ancient times done to her? However, after a while, she still felt her assumption reasonable.

The sound of Old Madam Sheng’s reproach, Sheng Hong’s and Wang shi’s constant pleading kept coming through. At the same time, Minglan sat on the small wood chair slowly, sighing with her mouth open. After that, she held her face in a trance with head in a muddled state.

Grandma, Master, Madam and poor Rulan, I thought, maybe, we were set up.

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