Published at 3rd of October 2019 06:20:46 AM

Chapter 150

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The day when the examination finished, Sheng family sent steward Fu to wait outside the examination hall. After steward Fu had waited for a long while with his neck stretched out, Changfeng and Wen Yanjing finally walked out totteringly. The former wore a purple face as if he had suffered from excessive sex. The latter’s face was sallow like he had been starving for days. Unlike Changfeng who cared a lot about this examination, Wen Yanjing was in a rather good state of mind. After all, no matter he could pass the exam or not, he could still get a wife who was from a wealthy family. 

Maybe their different mental states also influenced the results of their examinations. After half a month, the result came out. Wen Yanjing passed the exam as the thirty-second of the second class and became an advanced scholar (Jinshi). After another test, he would work in the Imperial Academy or be granted an official position. Meanwhile, Changfeng... Eh, he would have to try again.

As Rulan’s wedding date was approaching, she was getting a bit weird. Lately she was subject to changing moods. Sometimes she was totally delightful but then she would suddenly fly into a rage with no reason. Wang shi wanted to say some intimate words to her daughter, but was also contradicted by Rulan. Xique was anxious about the situation, so she went to Minglan for help.

“Sixth lady, you see...” Xique didn’t know how to start.

“It’s fine. I’ll go take a look.” Minglan knew why Xique was here. Since Minglan always knew when to play dumb and how to coax little girl, at some point, she almost became Rulan’s personal fire extinguisher. Even Xique always asked favor from her.

The moment Minglan stepped into the House of Carefree, she saw Rulan sat by the window in a trance. The dowry had already been carried away, so now the room which used to be full of treasures now seemed a bit empty. A splendid red wedding dress was hanging on the dark red lacquer wood hanger. And thanks to the dress, the room could seem brighter.

“Look who it is! My extremely popular sister! What brings you here today?” Seeing that Minglan was here, Rulan braced herself up and talked in a tart tone.

Minglan sat by Rulan’s side quietly, saying with a smile, “What’s wrong, sister? Tell me about it.”

Rulan glanced at Minglan with the corner of her eyes and snorted, “I’m just a total loser! Don’t think I deserve your concern!” On these words, Rulan turned around angrily and used her back against Minglan, leaning on the table heavily with her elbows.

Minglan pondered for a while and tried to ask, “What did madam say to you?”

Without turning her head, Rulan only hummed with her nose. Then Minglan understood what had happened right away. But she found herself helpless about the situation. Then she thought, ‘It’s all your fault, Gu Tingye!”

A few days ago, the people of Wen family had chosen a lucky day to present the betrothal gifts. Gu Tingye had also checked the almanac and found that date happened to be the best day during this period. So he had sent someone to ask if he could also present the betrothal gifts on the same day. Wang shi had not thought too much about it. So Sheng Gong had agreed without any hesitation.

On that day, Wen family had prepared plenty of scented tea, reunion fruit, gooses, sheep, wines, wild gooses and a few pieces of excellent cloths. However, Gu Tingye had been like some overnight millionaire who had managed to dig gold in South Africa. The gifts from him had been piled up in the whole yard. First, there had been one hundred and twenty-eight pairs of gold pig (Because Minglan’s zodiac is pig), which were worth one thousand ounces of silvers. And the cloths had included eighty-eight pieces of gauzes from Jiangnan Region, eight-eight pieces of camlets from Jiangbei Region and one hundred and eight pieces of all colored Sichuan figured satins. The jewlries had included eighteen dragon and phoenix pattern pure gold bracelets which weighed three to four ounces and eighteen pairs of dragon and phoenix pattern pure gold hairpin with pearl inserted. Also, there had been all the classy seafood such as the abalones, the fresh oysters, the scallops, the dried mushrooms, the small shrimps, the sleeve-fish, the sea cucumbers, the shark fins, the fish maws and the hair seaweeds. Hai shi and Old Madam Sheng had both doubted those food had meant to be the tributes to the emperor. And the gift list hadn’t just ended there because the livestock, the fish, the wines and the snacks had been countless. It was also worth mentioning that there had also been a pair of living fat wile gooses.

As a matter of fact, Gu Tingye had only presented those gifts according to the protocols of the rich and noble family and hadn’t gone too far. However, Wang shi felt her eyes being stung fiercely. All those pent-up anxieties which had buried in her mind for a long time finally burst out. She had known that the gap of wealth between Minglan’s husband and Rulan’s husband would gradually reveal itself. The drastic contrast of the gifts was just a beginning.

Ever since then, Wang shi was displeased to see Minglan. Nonetheless, Minglan was about to get married so she almost stayed in the Hall of Peaceful Ages every day. Thus, Wang shi could only call Rulan over to scold her with harsh words. Minglan could even see Wang shi saying those words like ‘If you haven’t met Wen Yanjing privately, those things could have been yours.’, or something like that.

What made Wang shi resented the most was that all those gifts had been sent to the Hall of Peaceful Ages directly without letting her touch. And Old Madam Sheng wouldn’t hesitate to add most of the gifts into Minglan’s dowry.

Even if Rulan was deeply in love with Wen Yanjing, she was still a normal girl who was sensitive about her reputation and had vanity. No one would be untouched by the great wealth. Nowadays, all the people including the stewards and the servants in the Sheng’s manor had striven to flatter Minglan.

Minglan was also an ordinary human being. She couldn’t help being moved by those gold, silver and jewelries. Her heart had beaten really fast at first sight of the pile of gifts. Danju and Xiaotao had made the inventory of the gold and pearl jewelries for about half an hour. Finally that pear blossom pattern ebony make-up box from Old Madam Sheng which contained nine layers and eighty-one drawers could come into use. And it was completely packed.

For the first time in her life, Minglan felt good about her marriage. As long as she could get her alimony payments, she wouldn’t be in muddle even if her marriage failed.

“Fifth sister, if you have anything you have to get it off your chest. You can say it to me.” Minglan tried her best to make herself sound gentle.

However, Rulan suddenly turned around and snorted with her eyebrows raised disdainfully, “How dare I?! Madam has already told me that maybe I would need you to help me to make ends meet!”

Minglan counted the days until Rulan’s wedding and found that this might be the last time she ever had a chance to coax Rulan. So she decided to do this at full tilt in order to let Rulan have a happy wedding. Then Minglan said smilingly, “Fifth sister, let me ask you this. If we could, would you trade with me? I’ll marry into Wen family while you could marry into Gu family, is that alright with you?”

With suspicions showed on Rulan’s face, she asked, “You are willing to do that?”

“Of course!” Minglan answered right away. Then she grinned and said, “I always have a good impression on my fifth brother-in-law. He can climb the mountain in the midnight to meet his lover, he can recite those love poems, not to mention that he is already an advanced scholar right now. Why would I refuse a good man like him?”

“You dare!” Rulan thumped on the table violently while standing up right away. Her roar was like the thunder which made Minglan feel a buzz in her ears.

Minglan was doubled up while rubbing her ears and leaning on the back of the chair, “So why are you still so annoyed?”

Having taken a deep breath and goggled at Minglan for a long while, Rulan sat down indignantly.

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After Minglan had leaned toward Rulan, she put her arms on Rulan’s shoulder while whispering to her ears, “Don’t you remember what you have said to me when we were back from Marquis Zhongqin’s mansion after we had met eldest sister’s mother-in-law?”

Rulan was stunned as the garnet gold eardrop on her ear kept wobbling. Then she said slowly, “I remember... I said that all the mother-in-laws were evil. If I had to live like eldest sister, I would rather be single for my whole life.”

Minglan sighed secretly and said in a soft voice, “Since you are clear about everything, why are you still being mad? Sister... are you being afraid right now?”

Rulan lowered her head with tears welling up in the corner of her eyes. She grabbed Minglan’s hand tightly without notice, choking with sobs, “I am afraid indeed. I’m afraid that Yanjing would let me down. I’m afraid that mean woman would bully me. I’m afraid that all my sisters would look down upon me! I know that lives are not easy in Gu family too. But I just... I... I don’t want to get married...”

After saying this, Rulan started to cry bitterly. It looked like Wang shi’s rebukes and Rulan’s own premarital fear really had crushed this poor girl, no matter how insensitive she was.

Minglan sighed slowly and said, “People always say that there are three things in this world which cannot be trusted. The first one is the elders saying they don’t want to live. The second one is the teenagers saying they don’t want to grow up. The third one...”

“What is the third one?” Rulan gradually stopped crying and asked.

“The ladies saying, they don’t want to get married!”

Rulan was ashamed into anger. Then she beat Minglan with her fists while Minglan begged for mercy loudly. Rulan only stopped after Minglan had apologized for a long while. After they had quarreled with each other like that, Rulan finally stopped being sad. At last, the two girl both collapsed on the brick bed and lay next to each other in gasps, chatting randomly,

“It’s so hard to be a daughter-in-law. Being a mother-in-law, on the other hand, is so easy!”

“If you want to be a grandpa, you have to be a grandson first. All the mother-in-laws have been daughter-in-laws before. Sister, you’ll have that day at last.”

“If only I could have no mother-in-law!”

“And where is your husband come from? You cannot get rid of someone as soon as he has done his job.”

“I’ll... we will both live a good life!”

“You bet we will. All the human beings need to live their lives. Only the dead don’t need to care about that.”

“You need to watch out for yourself! Your sister-in-laws in Gu family might despise you because you are an illegal daughter!”

“Doesn’t matter. I won’t even look at them.”...

In fact, Minglan was not that fond of Rulan. As a girl who’s similarly outgoing like Rulan, Pinlan was more generous, straightforward, optimistic and kind-hearted. Meanwhile, Rulan was more willful and arbitrary. However, right now Rulan had already stopped being angry and was describing how she was going to decorate her new home excitedly. Minglan looked at her and suddenly felt that Rulan was the only vivid and real existence in this mansion where everyone knew how to cover themselves.

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