Published at 19th of October 2019 08:45:29 AM

Chapter 158

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Old Madam Qin had already been in the ancestral temple. The moment she saw Gu Tingye and Minglan, she walked toward them and said with a gentle smile, “You must be so tired yesterday. Come on, pray and kowtow to the ancestors.”

The maids had already prepared the cattail hassocks and the incense. Minglan glanced over and saw a brand new memorial tablet in the center of the bottom row on which written ‘In memory of my beloved father, Yankai Gu’. Minglan was well aware of what she should do next. She followed Gu Tingye closely and fell on her knees on the cattail hassock. After that, she burnt the incense and prayed. At last, she put the incense back into the censor to finish the whole procedure. Minglan turned around and saw that Gu Tingye was starting at an old memorial tablet on the right of the bottom row, on which written ‘In memory of my beloved mother, Bai shi’. The expression in his eyes seemed a bit gloomy.

Having collected herself again, Minglan saw that there were actually two smaller memorial tablets beside the memorial tablet of Gu Tingye’s father. One belonged to Bai shi, who was also Minglan’s real mother-in-law. The other one which looked more delicate and exquisite had the words ‘In memory of my beloved mother, Qin shi’ on it. Minglan couldn’t help but look at Old Madam Qin and think, ‘If she dies, what will be written on her memorial tablet? Since a woman’s first name couldn’t be written on the tablet in this age, there will be two same memorial tablets by then.’

Gu Tingye came back to earth quickly. He then turned around and said, “We should give obeisance to Old Madam now.”

Old Madam Qin was sitting on one side of the hall with a sad look on her face. Hearing what Gu Tingye had said, she wiped the tears on the corner of her eyes and waved her hands, saying gently, “Just skip that, skip that.”

“The etiquette can not be abolished. Old Madam, please don’t refuse.” Gu Tingye said that in a low voice but with a rather resolute attitude. Minglan was very sharp-witted to follow her husband’s lead. She told Danju to put those two cattail hassocks in front of Old Madam Qin and made a kneeling down posture.

Seeing that she couldn’t get away with this, Old Madam Qin then sat tight and accept Gu Tingye and Minglan’s obeisance with a smile. After the couple had stood up, Minglan received a pair of extremely transparent jade bracelets with spun gold inlaid and a heavy bronze color gourd-shaped brocade pouch with pearl inlaid.

‘Kowtowing to Old Madam Qin is quite worth it.’ Minglan thought.

“Go to see your eldest brother now.” Old Madam Qin looked at them and said that with her eyes glistening with tears, “He never had a single day of joy over the past two years. Before the New Year’s Eve, his condition was even worsened. Now he has to stay on the bed all day. I bet he will be so happy to see you getting married.”

With the look on Gu Tingye’s face turned sullen, he seemed to fall into sadness too. Then he said lightly, “Of course we will visit him.”

Then, Gu Tingye and Minglan walked to the main yard with a large retinue. The crowd was quiet on the way. Only Old Madam Qin talked about Gu Tingye’s brother’s condition from time to time. However, Old Madam Qin couldn’t talk too much in order to keep her demure figure as an elder. So she also quieted down after saying a few words. Minglan who had just married into the family also couldn’t speak too much. Then she decided to shut her mouth like a clam while pretending to be bashful. At the same time, Gu Tingye had no intention to speak at all with a sullen look on his dark face. Minglan assumed that if she asked him why he looked like this, he would definitely answer, “I feel so sad for my brother’s illness.”

According to Minglan’s observation, this man would definitely say what he didn’t think.

After all the people had walked for a quarter, they finally arrived at the main yard. As they entered the inner yard, they all smelled a strong scent of medical decoction. Minglan followed Old Madam Qin into a large bedroom where the woolen carpet was laid on the tile floor. There was no decorations in this room because all kinds of medical pots and furnaces had already piled up from the table by the wall to the bed. Even the utility cabinet had been full of tins and bottles. It had already been the spring in March, the furnace fire was still burning vigorously in this room.

A man was lying in a flower and bird carving red sandalwood bed. Madam Shao was sitting by the bed while shedding tears to herself. As she heard people’s steps, she wiped out the tears on her face and stood up to greet the visitors.

“Tingyu, your second brother is here to see you!” Old Madam Qin called that slightly. Seeing that Gu Tingyu was trying to sit up, she pressed him back to the bed hastily. Then she hold his hand and pat it gently while chattering softly with her eye sockets turning red.

Although Minglan was quite unsatisfied that Old Madam Qin had skipped the introduction of her, she still stepped forward with a smile and then bent down to give her obeisance with Gu Tingye, “Nice to meet you, eldest brother, eldest sister-in-law.”

Madam Shao stood up right away to return the obeisance. Meanwhile, Gu Tingyu propped himself up on one of his elbows faintly and then lean on the pillow with the help of Madam Shao. After that, he nodded to Gu Tingye and then smiled to Minglan, saying “Please excuse my rudeness. I am a useless person.”

Minglan replied in a hurry, “Please don’t say that, brother, your health is the most important thing.” As Minglan looked up, she was startled to see the man in front of her. Though Gu Tingyu had scarcely any breath left and was all skin and bones with a sallow face, it was still clear to see that he looked exactly like Old Madam Qin, even more delicate and prettier than her. Of all the ancient people Minglan had seen, only Qi Heng was able to compete with Gu Tingye in appearance.

Being both good-looking, Qi Heng looked more handsome while Gu Tingyu looked beautiful in a more feminine way. After Gu Tingyu had said those words, he coughed lightly again with a few blue veins standing out on his pale neck and unusual redness showing on his cheeks.

“My son, have a rest now.” Old Madam Qin looked as if she was nearly heartbroken. Her hand which was touching the back of Gu Tingyu’s hand shook slightly. Right at this moment, her affection for his son seemed quite sincere.

Gu Tingyu held Old Madam Qin’s hand smilingly while staring at Gu Tingye the whole time. As Gu Tingyu watched from the tall and straight body to the face which was full of vitality of his brother, there were jealousy and sullenness showing in his eyes. Only after he had taken a few breaths was he able to open his mouth, “You finally agreed to see me. Fine, it’s all our destinies. I should give you the things which belonged to you at the first place. It happened before, and it will happen again.”

Having gazed at Gu Tingyu for a long while, Gu Tingye comforted his brother with a kind look, “Brother, why did you say that? Your illness is only temporary. When you are recovered, everything will be fine.”

Gu Tingyu gave out a wry smile and said, “You did have grown up. Look at you saying those comforting words. You must have experienced a lot of things after you have left our home for several years. That’s a good thing. Now you are the only support of Gu’s family.”

Gu Tingye lowered his head without saying anything. After a while, he smiled again and soothed Gu Tingyu as if they really were two loving brothers. Gu Tingyu started to cough and have a fever again after he had said a few words. After that, he fell asleep again. Then all the people there left the room cautiously without any noise.

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Old Madam Qin’s face was covered with melancholy. When she left the room, she turned around and said to Madam Shao, “You haven’t eaten anything yet, right? You can tell the maids to look after Ting yu. Come have the breakfast with us.”

Madam Shao declined that proposal at first. Then she agreed and followed everyone out of the room. After that, the crowd headed to the side yard on the east. When they entered into the yard, they saw a table full of dishes in the center and a young lady being busy preparing everything.

This young lady who had a beautiful oval face was wearing a rose violet entangled floral branch pattern coat with a gold bottom peony shape ruby hairpin on her oblique bun, giving others a very affable impression. When she saw that everyone arrived, she smiled with her eyes curved, saying, “Mother, eldest sister-in-law, second brother, second sister-in-law, you are finally here. I got so hungry, if I wait any longer than this, I’ll eat by myself first!”

Hearing her words, Madam Shao burst into laughter with a joyful look showing on her face. Unlike Madam Shao who behaved affectionately towards that young lady, Old Madam Qin still remained indifferent and only said, “Let’s start the meal. Everyone’s hungry now.”

Old Madam Shao pulled that young lady over and introduced to Minglan, “This is your third sister-in-law, Weige’er’s wife. She’s from Earl Chengping’s family, the Zhu family. She’s the most warmhearted one among us. Anytime you feel bored in future, you can go chat with her. She’ll be more than happy to solve your problems.”

When Minglan heard the name ‘Weige’er’, she was almost choked to death by her own saliva. Then she realized that Viagra wasn’t called that name in ancient times.(T/N: Weige’er is another name for Viagra in modern Chinese.) The person Madam Shao had talked about was Gu Tingye’s third brother, Gu Tingwei, who was also the natural son of Old Madam Qin.

Minglan grinned and nodded. Suddenly she found herself in a dilemma. In respect of age, she was a few years younger than Zhu shi. But in respect of the seniority in the family, she was Zhu shi’s elder sister-in-law. As she was pondering that, Zhu shi who seemed to care nothing about how they would call each other approached and gave her obeisance to Minglan with a smile, saying, “It’s nice meeting you, second sister-in-law.”

Then Minglan could only responded with redness on her face, “It’s nice meeting you too, third sister-in-law.” Then she took over a pouch which had been prepared by Danju long ago and passed it to Zhu shi. The latter laughed and accepted the pouch with an amiable look while saying, “It feels so good to be the youngest daughter-in-law of the family. I wish I could have more brothers and sister-in-laws!”

The crowd broke out in a riot of laughter, even Old Madam Qin hanged up a smile on the corner of her mouth.

After all the dishes had been set on the table, everyone sat at their seats one by one. Minglan saw Madam Shao and Zhu shi were still standing there, so she also stood aside consciously and prepared to help serve the dishes. Old Madam Qin then waved her hand and said, “You three can sit down and have the meal now. There’s a saying goes, the seniority can be ignored in the first three days after the wedding. Also, we are not that kind of family which attaches importance to those rigid rules. Come, sit here.” Then she pointed at Gu Tingye while saying, “You can go to the side room. Your third brother is waiting for you there. It has been a long time you two haven’t seen each other. This time you can finally have a good chat with him. You and Minglan can greet other relatives after the breakfast.”

Gu Tingye bent down and consented to Old Madam Qin. Then he walked to Minglan and said in a low voice, “I’ll go there first. You... have a good meal here.” Although there was no expression on his face, but the concerned expression in his eyes was still obvious.

It seemed that Old Madam Qin didn’t saw that scene because she had just turned around to give orders to the maid. However, she still put on a smile on the corner of her face. Madam Shao looked at the new couple smilingly but felt jealous and bitter inwardly. Zhu shi was the only one who laughed out and said, “Second brother, we won’t eat our second sister-in-law!”

Gu Tingye then bid his farewell to all the women and left with a smile.

Minglan was still standing there with her head lowered and her face turning red, feeling a bit panicky——Perfect, perfect, now she was already able to blush at anytime she wanted. If she was able to control how much redness she had on her cheek, she would be a master of blushing then.

Minglan lifted her eyes gently to glance at all those women there. So far, everything was perfectly normal. Her mother-in-law was kind and agreeable, her eldest sister-in-law was dignified and virtuous, her youngest sister-in-law was energetic and amiable. The atmosphere in this family was harmonious and sweet. If all of this was real, then she surely was a lucky girl.

However, ever since Minglan had been drowned in the debris flow, she understood one thing that there were always surprises in her life. She just didn’t know what kind of surprises Marquis Ningyuan’s mansion would give to her.

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