Published at 2nd of November 2019 05:25:07 PM

Chapter 166

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Minglan said inwardly, ‘This is the power of the family! The marriage alliance will always bring two families together. Among the nobility in the ancient times, there is no other power connection between two families which is stronger than the marriage alliance.’ This might sound a bit ridiculous, but was actually the truth.

Family clan was the basic unit in the ancient laws. Normally, people only recommended the people of their own family to work in the essential position of the government. Because, when one of the family had committed a crime, he might implicate three generations of his family, sometimes even nine generations. Sometimes if that guilty person got really unlucky by encountering an emperor with a special character, even his disciples and teachers might be convicted too. Since the families were bound to suffer together, they would definitely choose to share fortunes with each other too. Therefore, as far as one’s relatives were not that lame or even a bit talented, he would definitely be willing to offer his help. After all, helping a relative was equal to helping himself. The only thing to keep the prosperity of a family was the mutual help among the members.

The only reason that Jia, Shi, Wang, Xue families (T/N: Four prestigious families in the book A Dream in Red Mansion) had declined was that the fourth generation of those four families was not promising. At least, there was an imperial concubine from Jia family. And Wang family had this Wang Ziteng who was the Great General of several armies. The only scholar, Jia Zhu, had died at a young age. As for the rest members of the fourth generation, Jia She ruined other people’s family because of a few folding fans. Xue Pan beat someone to death. Jia Baoyu seduced His Royal Highness’s favorite boy. Those guys could compete the ability of stirring up troubles with each other.

A family without promising descendants would surely fall into decay sooner or later.

Minglan could understand Gu Tingye and her father’s conversation, so she just waited there quietly. Meanwhile, Wang shi who couldn’t understand that at all felt kind of bored there. She had planned to put on a show as a strict legal mother and criticize Minglan in front of her powerful son-in-law. However, Sheng Hong just talked about the destiny of the country and the future of the nation without a break. So Wang shi had no chance to chip in the whole time.

Fortunately, after a short while, the people who had been waiting outside in the main hall flowed over into the room. Yuan Wenshao and Changwu laughed in the crowd while claiming that the dishes were about to be cold. Sheng Hong also felt that there was nothing else to speak to Gu Tingye, so he followed everyone to eat the meal outside smilingly.

In the meantime, Minglan was dragged by the women to dine in the inner hall. The maids had already laid the Ruyi patterned round table in black paint. After all the dishes had been served, all the women were seated around the table to chat with each other while eating. Wang shi let Minglan sit beside her.

Everyone present were female. Looking at Minglan, they all had a clear idea of how Minglan was treated in Gu family. Someone admired Minglan, someone envied her, someone felt happy for her. Anyway, Minglan’s presence made everyone there fall into a deep thought.

Molan stared enviously at Minglan. Minglan was wearing a bright red and wide sleeved formal dress of silk embroidered with phoenix patterns. Her gauzy Beizi (An item of traditional Chinese attire common to both men and women, a large loose coat), thin as onion skin, had flower clumps in golden threads. Her hair, combed into a Riyi style topknot, was anchored by a large gold hairpin with five phoenixes spreading the wings toward the sun. The ruby on the solid gold earrings with tassels on her ears was extremely dazzling. Before she went out of Commander Gu’s mansion, Gu Tingye had also thrust six or seven rings of gold, jade or some other precious stones into her fingers, which made Minglan feel ashamed to show her hands.

Such attire was not just luxurious. As a matter of fact, only the wife of the man with high official rank was allowed to dress up like that. The longer Molan looked at her, the more uncomfortable Molan felt. However, she still had to put on a joyful look while chatting with Minglan from time to time.

Having tried her best to endure the dizzy feeling, Minglan held the wine cup and turned around to look right into Wang shi’s eyes, saying sincerely in a clear voice, ‘I’ll give the first toast to Madam. I used to be a sickly girl when I was little. Without the thoughtful care from Madam and Eldest Sister, I would be dead already! I have to give my thanks to you here, Madam!” On these words, Minglan drank off the wine in her cup. At least the part about Hualan in her speech was true.

With tears welling up in Wang shi’s eyes, she also tossed off the wine. She held Minglan’s hand and babbled, feeling a bit touched, “You little girl. Why did you say those nonsense on such a good day! We are families, there’s no need to say thanks... You have always been an obedient girl since childhood and never caused troubles like your elder sisters. How can I not love you dearly?!” As Wang shi got so emotional saying those words, she even took those words seriously herself.

Face turning pale, Molan lowered her head and stopped talking. Minglan then took a glance at Molan. The latter had dressed up very elegantly in a formal way as a madam with light make-up and a prim chignon. Even her earrings were the regular round ones. However, the tiredness and tension on the corner of Molan’s eyes couldn’t be hidden and the anxiety in her mind had formed a deep wrinkle between her eyebrows.

Minglan sighed slightly. She didn’t want to settle accounts with Molan right now, but she needed Molan to be clear that they were not that close. The only thing Minglan was afraid of was that Molan would make a request to her openly. So Minglan had to take some precautions about that.

Seeing Minglan and Wang shi being on good terms, Aunt Kang got a bit jealous and said, “Minglan has married well. Your family will surely count on you in the future. Don’t forget what your mother has done for you. Never forget which family you come from----!” Half of Aunt Kang’s dowry had been spent on her illegal sons’ and daughters’ marriage. She had intended to make do with those weddings. However, as a family with a noble title, Kang family valued the display of splendor a lot even when they didn’t have that much money.

With the corner of Minglan’s mouth curved into a polite smile, she decided not to reply to Aunt Kang. Meanwhile, Rulan was not pleased. She had always been an outspoken girl. Ever since Kang Zhao’er had married into Wang family, Rulan had considered Aunt Kang as a despicable woman. She only didn’t utter, ‘The return of the bride of Sheng’s family has nothing to do with you! Why don’t you stop coming to us so often?’ or something like that for Yun’er’s sake.

“Aunt, you are right! Sixth sister, you have to remember this, you should always repay the one who has treated you nice. Even if you can’t do that, don’t return kindness with ingratitude!” The showy silver red coat with silk embroidery and pink velvet edges that Rulan was wearing cast a red tint on her ruddy face. Those two rosy cheeks showed that she had lived a fine married life.

The look on Aunt Kang’s face turned super awkward. Then she lowered her head to drink the wine alone. Yun’er who knew about the ins and outs of the matter felt sorry for what her mother had done. Changwu treated Yun’er really nice and had offered generous help to Kang family over these years. Moreover, in consideration of the close relationship between her husband’s family and Sheng Hong’s, Yun’er was definitely not willing to be loathed by the people from Sheng family. So right now she only wished her mother could talk less.

Yun’er held Rulan’s hands to apologize in a low voice while keeping serving dishes for Wang shi. Minglan who saw that couldn’t help but sigh inwardly.

Hai shi, sensing the awkwardness in the air, decided to ease the tension, “Mother has visited Eldest Sister in Yuan family a few days ago. She said that Eldest Sister’s belly seemed even bigger than mine. But she actually got pregnant later than me. Is it possible that she’s pregnant with twins? Since Eldest Sister claims about her collywobbles the whole time, perhaps there are two strong boys kicking her belly!”

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Her words made all the women there laugh. Wang shi was the happiest one. The great pleasure drove Wang shi to drink several cups of wine without a break. As the alcohol started to work on her brain, she couldn’t even utter the words clearly. When the wine had been round twice, a maid came in from the outside and whispered to Minglan’s ears.

Then Minglan stood up and said to the others with a smile, “Perhaps Old Madam would like to give me some advice. I’ll go over then.”

Wang shi was already unconscious now. Hai shi smiled, “Just go. Old Madam has a lot to say to you.”

After Minglan had bid her farewell to everyone smilingly, she turned around to follow the maid and left. The moment she got out of the room, she hastened her steps and rushed directly to the Hall of Peaceful Ages. After she had entered into the yard and turned left to get into the side room, she saw that there was already a table of dishes being prepared there and Old Madam Sheng was waiting for her by the window.

Minglan was touched by her grandma a lot. Then she grinned and pounced on Old Madam Sheng while shaking Old Madam Sheng’s arms with a cute look on her face, saying, “Grandma, you and I are truly connected. I haven’t eaten anything on purpose knowing that you must be waiting for me!” Old Madam Sheng, being unable to keep a straight face, laughed and scolded, “It’s all because of you little monkey that I’m starving!” Minglan then threw herself into Old Madam Sheng’s arms while uttering sweet words, “Let me massage your belly, grandma!”

Old Madam Sheng pinched Minglan’s cheek, saying, “What’s the massage for since there is nothing in my stomach. You want me to be hungrier?!” Minglan supported Old Madam Sheng to sit by the table and filled a bowl of soup flavored with white gourd, ribs and mushroom. Then she coaxed, “Grandma, please take a sip, take a sip!”

Seeing that scene, Mama Fang got her eyes watery and said, “It’s been so long Old Madam hasn’t been this happy!”

“What do you mean by so long?!” Old Madam Sheng turned around to glare at Mama Fang, saying, “It has only been two days!”

Minglan held her face while saying in a sentimental tone, “One day seems like three years for my dear grandma when I was not here. Alas, see how many years we haven’t seen each other! Grandma, you must have suffered from the love-sickness! What am I gonna do? Being too adorable is not my fault, right?”

Finally, Old Madam Sheng couldn’t help but burst into laughter, “You shameless girl only know about blowing your own trumpet! Shame on you!”

Minglan tilted her head with her pretty face approaching Old Madam Sheng and said smilingly, “I don’t know what shame is!”

Amused by Minglan’s endearing behavior, Old Madam Sheng couldn’t help but laugh loudly and pat Minglan. The two were then immersed in such great joy of reunion.

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