Published at 10th of October 2019 05:48:46 AM

Chapter 153

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A few days before Minglan’s wedding, Old Madam Sheng called over all the stewards of the manor in Minglan’s dowry to let Minglan greet them.

“You have served me for a long time. I will put the words at first, do not think you can put on airs in front of your new mistress because of your seniority. If you have done anything wrong, Sixth Lady could punish you right away! And do not think you can still beg for leniency from me at that time!”

An old man with a square face in the middle of the stewards who were kneeling in front of Old Madam Sheng kowtowed and said in a hurry, “How dare we offend Sixth Lady! From today, Sixth Lady is our only mistress. Old Madam, you can rely on us!”

Then Old Madam Sheng nodded and said, “You are a sensible man. If you can handle the affairs in the manor well, Minglan would also treat you well.”

After that, Steward Cui brought his sons, Cui Ping and Cui An, to kowtow to Minglan. Minglan nodded and answered their obeisance.

In fact, Steward Cui was not that old. He didn’t even reach fifty. However, his face was swarthy and wrinkly due to the exposure under the sun all year long. He was also pretty good at planting crops. His two son’s looked sturdy with big hands and feet. One of them helped their father with the livestock while the other planted some fruit trees on the mountain. Besides, there were also two male servants. One called Liu Mangui,who seemed smart but didn’t smile or talk. The other one called Ji Qiang. This man who had mud in his fingernails suffered from stammer. After Minglan asked about his background, she found surprisingly that he was Luzhi’s brother.

This discovery shocked Minglan. Because the brother and the sister had nothing in common.

“My mother died early. My brother is so docile that he always gets bullied. Other people always throw hard and menial work to him. And he has taken blame for others lots of times. If it were not for Mama Fang, my brother would be dead already!” Luzhi talked about his brother’s past sullenly, “He’s already twenty-five and still hasn’t got married.”

“No wonder why sister Luzhi is such a tough girl.” Cuixiu smiled and said that.

“It’s called experienced.” Qinsang also smiled gently while pricking Cuixiu’s forehead, saying, “When we arrive at Gu family, you can no longer talk randomly like this. Otherwise you would only humiliate our lady. And people in their family would assume the girls from Sheng family are all poor educated.”

Cuixiu covered her forehead and nodded. Then she said, “Gosh... It’s such a shame that sister Yancao and sister Jiu’er couldn’t come with us. After so many years we lived together, I just feel something’s missing in my life without them.

Ruomei snorted slightly and said, “They are both lucky girls. Their parents all cherish them a lot. You can stop worrying for them!”

Bisi covered her little mouth in an adorable way and said smilingly, “Mama Liu never wanted Jiu’er to go with us in the first place. So Jiu’er only lived in our yard to enjoy a few years’ good time. As for sister Yancao, huh, her parents were afraid that she would have a rough time in our lady’s future husband’s family, so they had already asked Fang Mama to let Yancao leave us to find a husband after our lady got married. However, they never realized that our lady would marry into such a rich family! Now it’s too late for them to change their decision. An intelligent girl like our lady has already seen through them!”

Hearing their conversation getting more and more absurd, Danju straightened her face and scolded, “Do you think we can talk about our lady’s affair so randomly?! Our lady is a kind person who doesn’t want to break other people’s family apart. Also, our lady has heard that the man that Yancao’s parents had found for Yancao as her husband was a reliable person. That’s why Yancao stays here. You guys can stop talking nonsense! Sister Qinsang is right. When we come to Gu family, we have to speak and act cautiously. Always keep your mouths shut and stop gossiping like a big mouth woman! You know about our lady, she’s not a soft person!”

As the leader of all the maids in Minglan’s yard, Danju had treated all the maids nice and gently, but she also had formed an imposing manner over these years. Bisi pouted and stopped talking while Ruomei lowered her head silently.

Although Cuixiu was the youngest one among the girls, she was always the smartest one. Seeing the atmosphere being awkward, she dragged Danju’s sleeves and coaxed her, “My dear sister, there’s still one thing on my mind. Please explain it for me!... I heard that Eldest Lady only brought four maids with her when she got married. So did the Fourth Lady. So why did fifth lady and our lady need so many maids with them?”

Danju smiled at Cuixiu with the corner of her mouth hanged up, saying, “That’s not the same. Eldest lady’s husband and Fourth lady’s husband both come from families with noble titles. Bringing too many maids are not inappropriate. Fifth lady’s husband is from a scholar’s family which doesn’t have so many maids and servants. So it’s better to bring more maids to serve them. As for our lady... Mama Fang told me that General Gu has established his own family. But it has not been a long time since he moved into the new mansion. So there are not too many reliable servants in his mansion. That’s why you little girl are so lucky to have the chance to see the world with us.”

Xiaotao who had been gobbling the peach finally raised her head with juice on the corner of her mouth, asking confusedly, “But... I heard that our lady’s wedding is about to be held in Marquis Ningyuan’s mansion!”

Danju turned around and said smilingly, “It’s true. But General Gu and our lady will come back to the new mansion after greeting the elders.”

All the girls all took a tumble and spitted ‘Oh’. After that, their faces were brimming over with joy— Without any elders in the new mansion, Minglan could make her own decisions in many things, which meant that all the maids would be more relaxed there.

On the tenth of the March, Old General Bo’s wife came over to Sheng’s mansion before dawn. Danju presented two large red packets (T/N: red paper containing money as a gift) instantly while conveying gratitude to Old Madam Bo. Then the maid beside Old Madam Bo took over the red packets.

The moment Old Madam Bo saw Minglan, she hanged a smile on the corner of her mouth and praised, “Nice. What a good girl. Sheng family really is a blessed family. All the boys and girls are excellent!”

Wang shi said respectfully, “All thanks to your lucky words.”

After Minglan had taken a shower, she was pressed on the seat in front of the mirror and started the make-up procedure. Although Old Madam Bo was an aged woman, she still had a pair of skillful hands and did Minglan’s make-up neatly and quickly. Before Minglan could whine a lot, Old Madam Bo already applied thick fragrant cream on her face. Then, there were four or five layers of powder being added on the cream as if Old Madam Bo was painting walls. After that came the drawing eyebrows and applying blusher parts.

Minglan only sat there obediently. When Old Madam Bo finished her work, Minglan didn’t have the interest in looking into the mirror. She had already witnessed the scene of her sisters’ wedding, so she was pretty sure that she must look like a white dough with blusher.

However, ... Brother Bao (T/N: A male character in a famous Chinese novel who loved Sister Lin but married Sister Bao) did have two sharp eyes. All the girls with that make-up looked the same, but he still managed to distinguish Sister Bao and Sister Lin. Well, dear Sister Bao, if you could just apply thicker powder, maybe you were able to fool Brother Bao on your wedding night. At least, you should sleep with Brother Bao first. In that case, all those researchers wouldn’t make meaningless deductions like ‘Does Baochai have a marriage without sex’ while assuming they were actually making academic researches.

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Minglan didn’t know about what happened next. It seemed that there was something very heavy being pressed on her head. As long as she moved a bit, she could hear something tinkling above her. Meanwhile, she also felt her neck getting a few inches shorter.

After Minglan had eaten some sweet cubilose Chinese date porridge, a bunches of women of all ages came into the room and spoke words of good omen. Minglan didn’t need to answer any of those. The only thing she needed to do was lowering her head and showing a shy face. Xiaotao who was beside Minglan held a porcelain jar with snacks and ginseng slices in it for unexpected need. Danju was guarding Minglan’s personal belongings in case anything would be missing.

After a while, there were cracking sound coming through from the outside. Here came the procession to fetch the bride.

Gu Tingye was riding a tall horse in a red wedding suit. On his left was Shen Congxing, also known as the new Marquis Weibei, while on his right was Qiu Shu, who was the eldest son of the Grand Secretary and also the one who had won third place in this year’s imperial examination. The men who were behind them were Zheng Jun, the Commander in Chief of the Palace Guards, and his brother Zheng Xiao, the Empress’s brother-in-law.

Changbai stood in front of the door with the corner of his mouth twitching. ‘That’s perfect. The influential civil and military officials, members of the imperial house. They are all here.’ He thought.

As a rule, the people of the bride’s family would make difficulties for the bridegroom’s team.

As Liang Hangang who was on the bride’s side asked how to use the spear, Young General Zheng claimed that he would love to demonstrate it for them at once.

Then Wen Yanjing cleared his throat and came up with a few questions. Qiu Tan answered all of them without a hitch. Then Wen Yanjing decided to end his session on good note. The two new Jinshi shook hands cheerfully while talking about what they had been through in the Court Examination. As a matter of fact, it had only been a few days since the Court Examination finished, they didn’t need to recall their memories like that. As a result, their conversation only made Changfeng who was standing beside them feel sad.

Yuan Wenshao was the most sensitive person. As righteous as he looked, he was the only one who sneaked to the door without making any sound and opened the door secretly. After that he gave a secret signal to Gu Tingye who was waiting for this moment. Then Gu Tingye whistled and commanded his men to shout and rush into the Sheng’s mansion.

Changbai gave the conclusion: First, we have a traitor, which means that we don’t have a strong will. Second, our enemy is too powerful. They are so cunning and valiant. At last, let’s go back to watch the fun next.

Changdong who was standing beside Changbai was touching the red packets which had been given by Gu Tingye. Hearing the sound of bank notes rubbing each other, Changdong could feel  the friendly sentiments from his new sixth brother-in-law. Then he couldn’t help saying, “But, eldest brother, you didn’t help block the door either!”

Although those men who had blocked the door hadn’t tried their best, they had still gone through the motions, unlike Changbai who had only stood there without moving a muscle.

Changbai said slowly with his hands still holding together, “Because, I have received your sixth brother-in-law’s gift, the fishing on the Wu River which was painted by Qian Xiuzhi.”

“Ah?!” Changdong opened his mouth widely and stammered, “But, but... you have said they were...”

Changbai put on a serious look and instructed his brother earnestly, “Since I have already received the painting, I couldn’t block the door anymore. But what does it have to do with talking about them? Changdong, you have to remember this, man should always distinguish from right or wrong.”

After saying this, Changbai turned around calmly and left slowly with the lower hem of his rope flying in the air, like the elegant scholar of Wei and Jin Dynasty.

At the same time, Changdong was in a daze behind his brother with admiration on his face.

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