Published at 24th of May 2019 06:38:00 AM

Chapter 92

If audio player doesn't work, press Stop then Play button again


Causes and Effects (2)

A few days later, they arrived at the wharf. Changwu had hired a two-storey ship painted in red. Kang Yun'er asked Minglan to get off the carriage and embark with her. Even though she had a strong body, Kang Yun'er lay down to rest her tired limbs as soon as she got aboard as she felt fatigued from the travel these days. Kang Yun'er chatted with Minglan casually, and soon she fell asleep. Minglan tucked her in and crept away.

The ship was more stable than the carriage, so Kang Yun'er slept much better than the last few days. In the following days, Minglan urged Kang Yun'er to take the Chinese medicine and have a good rest. And she also brought Yun'er plenty of pleasure by humorous words. Then, she went to the side of the ship to take Changdong back, and forced him to review his lessons.

"When we went from Quan Prefecture to Deng Prefecture before, no matter in the carriage or in the ship, our eldest brother always had books in his hands. Now look at yourself, do you read a book these days?" Minglan mentioned Changbai as the role model to lecture Changdong.

Changdong used to study hard, but he was a little child who preferred playing to studying. It was the first time he was so free. Changwu and Kang Yun'er didn't restrict his movements, and without Sheng Hong and Concubine Xiang by his side, he gradually revealed his naughty character. But Minglan pulled him back and gave him a lesson. Changdong gave in and went back to study, his eyes dimming with disappointment.

Kang Yun'er chuckled, "You are so capable that you can urge your husband to study hard in the future." Minglan rolled her eyes at Yun and said, "Now you are teasing me, but after the birth of your child, won't you urge him to study hard to get first in the imperial examination?"

Kang Yun'er pretended to be annoyed by Minglan and gave her a slight blow on the shoulder. But Yun'er was happy with Minglan's words because she hoped to have a son.

In the next few days, everything went very smoothly. The river was calm, the north wind bellied the sails, and the ship sailed fast and steadily through Shi Prefecture, Jining, Shang Prefecture and Huaiyin. Changwu told everyone with pleasure that they would arrive in Youyang in about three or four days with the help of the north wind.

In the evening, the river was calm, perfectly flat. Changwu asked boatmen to anchor the ship in the river. He also bought some fresh fishes and shrimps from the fishermen on the shore. Then he prepared a seafood hotpot and asked his young sister and brother to have dinner with him. Kang Yun'er ate some fish porridge with a smile on her face. Changwu, Changdong and Minglan ate up six baskets of fishes and shrimps, including boiled prawns, salt and pepper prawns, red-cooked fishes and grilled squids. The cabin was filled with the delicious smell of fishes and shrimps. Minglan in particular, devoured the fishes and shrimps hungrily as if they were her enemies. Afraid that she would suffer from diarrhea, Kang Yun'er stopped her from going on eating. Minglan was a little disappointed but she stopped obediently. Changdong, with the eight tools of disassembling crabs in his hands, was totally shocked by her actions.

After eating the crabs, drinking some rice wine could dispel the cold. Changwu got slightly drunk and went to bed early with his wife. The maids were drunk and went to sleep early too. Minglan took this opportunity and asked Changdong to her room. When they two walked into the door, Minglan suddenly changed her face and closed the door and windows carefully.

Changdong had no idea about her intentions, but he followed Minglan to the inner room and sat down on the stool. Then Minglan said with a straight face, "I'm so busy these days that I can't find a chance to talk with you alone. Fortunately, you don't like eating crabs, so you don't drink rice wine tonight. Now I want to ask you about the result of the investigation I entrusted you with."

Changdong went blank and then realized what Minglan meant. He actually kept those words bottled up in mind for a long time. Last time in Sheng Mansion, he had wanted to tell Minglan the result, but was interrupted by Molan. Later they set out on their journey, and there were always people around them. Minglan was so cautious that she never talked about her private matters in front of others. So she commanded Changdong not to mention that matter for the time being.

About half a year ago after Minglan had known from Qian Mama that Wang shi had consulted with Junzhu Pingning and Marchioness Yongchang on the marriages of their children at the banquet in Duke Qi Household, she had set her heart on this matter and guessed that Wang shi must want to ally herself by marriages to Qi family and Liang family.

According to Wang shi's logic, she wouldn't choose Molan to marry into these two noble families because of her personal animosity towards Concubine Lin. So except for Molan, only Rulan and Minglan had reached the age of marriage. After comparing Qi Heng with Liang Han in all aspects, Minglan reluctantly drew a conclusion that Wang shiwanted her to marry Liang Han. Every mother would choose a better man for her own daughter, and obviously, Qi Heng was much better than Liang Han.

Minglan was in a blue funk. The reason why she had been relaxed about her marriage before was that she trusted Old Madam Sheng. Furthermore, after having a contact with He Hongwen, she thought that he was a good man to live with. But now… She became worried about her marriage not because she didn't trust Wang shi but because Wang shi wouldn't take her marital happiness into consideration.

In ancient China, marriages were arranged by parents. At that time, Yu Yanran had almost given in to Lord Yu, even though she had her own grandparents by her side. If the marriage with Liang Han was indeed good for Sheng Hong, Changbai and even the whole Sheng family, and Liang Han had no big problem, what could Old Madam Sheng do to refuse this marriage?

Minglan felt confused and helpless for the first time as she knew nothing about Liang Han. So when Dangju went outside to visit her family, Minglan secretly asked her to inquire about him. However, the maids in inner mansion, especially those who waited upon young ladies, were under strict supervision to prevent improper secret dealings. Minglan didn't find out any of Liang Han's moral problems from Dangju's several inquiries. She only knew that Liang Han had never made a serious mistake. He hadn't beat people to death and wasn't a gay. And there was no rumor about his love affairs in the capital. Besides, Marquis Yongchang Household seemed peaceful and nothing unusual had happened.

Minglan still felt uneasy. Fortunately, she was reminded by Ruomei that she could request Changdong to inquire about Liang Han. In Changdong's school, there were not only the children of scholarly families but also the children of noble families. The Liang family had marriage connections with so many families that there were many gossips about the family, though it wasn't a very distinguished family. Minglan secretly entrusted the task to Changdong, who was honest and inarticulate. Such a person was trustworthy in the eyes of others. Changdong tried to fish for information step by step. He was so patient that he spent almost half a year checking up on Liang Han. At last, he got a detailed investigation report.

Liang Han was outgoing, bold and forthright. And he was careless in manner but was fiercely loyal to his friends. Because of Marchioness Yongchang's strict management, he only had three maids as his concubines. But a few months ago, after the wife of Marquis Yongchang's eldest illegal son brought a girl into Liang Mansion, Marquis Yongchang Household lost its peace.

"The girl is the illegal daughter of the illegal young sister of First Young Madam Liang's aunt." Changdong had a good memory. He stretched out his little short fingers to sort the complex relationships out and said, "And her name is…Chunge."

Minglan burst into laughter at once because this name was the same as the nickname of a modern singer, Li Yuchun.

Lady Chunge was beautiful and crafty. Although Madam Liang kept an eye on her son, Chunge had sex with Liang Han in secret. First Young Madam Liang cried for a compensation in front of Madam Liang.

Madam Liang looked down upon Chunge not only because of her lowly status (the illegal daughter of the illegal young sister of First Young Madam Liang's aunt) but also because of her despicable manners and her relationship with First Young Madam Liang. Madam Liang even refused to accept her as Liang Han's concubine. Lady Chunge was so spirited that she threatened Madam Liang that she would kill herself at the gate of Marquis Yongchang Household if the Liang family didn't make up to her. She expressed that she would use her life to reveal the Liang family's unkind and immoral conduct to citizens in the capital.

Visit for extra chapters.

Changdong told Minglan all about the situation of the Liang family. Minglan took a deep breath, relaxed her body and leant on the back of the chair. The reality accorded with her guesses and worries. In truth, Minglan never considered herself as one in a million who deserved Marchioness Yongchang's favor and lavish gifts. Liang Han was the youngest legal son of Marquis Yongchang, but she herself was just an illegal daughter of a fourth-ranked official. To be honest, she was not a fine match for Liang Han.

'So, why does Marchioness Yongchang want me to be her daughter-in-law?'

Minglan turned her head slightly to a simple beech dressing-table against the wall. The mirror of the dressing-table was polished enough to reflect Minglan's face. This young lady was very comely with fair skin. No wonder Molan had gone mad and tried to disfigure Minglan's face.

Minglan came to a conclusion that Madam Liang chose her because of her outstanding appearance. Although this answer injured her self-esteem, it was the most reasonable explanation in the situation that she had a low status.

What happened next in Marquis Yongchang Household was easy to deduce.

After that ignoble affair, Marchioness Yongchang made a prompt decision to accept Chunge as Liang Han's concubine, but in exchange, she asked Liang Han to marry a legal wife first. After a long standoff between the two sides, Madam Liang was still patient but Chunge couldn't wait anymore. So Liang Han had to agree to take a wife first.

Madam Liang was so astute that she knew clearly that it wouldn't help the situation if she casually picked a lady of blue blood for her son; instead, it would bring trouble to the Liang family.

She had an eldest legal son and an eldest daughter-in-law who was of noble birth. For her, there was no need to choose another highborn girl as her daughter-in-law. Furthermore, she knew her son well. Liang Han was not an affectionate man. Now he was only captured by this shrewd beautiful woman for the time being. What she should do was to find a more beautiful woman, who was well-spoken and had a pleasant manner, for her son. After they got married, it was the best that the newly wedded wife could win Liang Han's favor. If she couldn't, it would be okay as long as she suppressed Chunge by the law and discipline rite.

Lady Chunge was very beautiful. Madam Liang looked for a suitable candidate in aristocratic circles but didn't find a satisfactory one until she saw Minglan. She was satisfied with Minglan's beauty. And in the next few months, the more she knew about Minglan, the more satisfied she was. Minglan was born in a literary family and had a capable father and an aspiring brother. Although she was an illegal lady, she was well bred and had good manners. Madam Liang was quite pleased with Minglan, so...

Minglan sorted everything out. But strangely, she didn't get angry about Madam Liang's intention. In all conscience, she was not good enough for Liang Han. If Madam Liang hadn't been annoyed by Chunge, she wouldn't choose Minglan as her future daughter-in-law. Even He Hongwen had many other choices besides Minglan. The reasons for his engagement to Minglan were because of the long-standing friendship between Old Madam He and Old Madam Sheng and the satisfaction of both sides.

Minglan suddenly felt relieved. She used to be like a helmsman enveloped in a dense fog, who knew nothing about the danger ahead. But now the dense fog lifted and she suddenly saw the light. Even if there were still lots of submerged reefs, sandbanks and shoals waiting for her, she felt much better than when she had been ignorant of Liang Han's affairs.

In fact, Chunge wasn't a big threat. For those children of the nobility, love was a sudden impulse caused by growth hormone and would fade in daily life; instead, the clan status, future prosperity and offspring were their eternal concerns. For Liang Han's future legal wife, with the support of ritual law and the protection of her mother-in-law, she could beat Chunge in the future as long as she fully utilized her beauty, superior status and shrewd means, unless Liang Han was affectionate to his beloved unto the end. But this was almost impossible to happen. If it really happened, she could do nothing but accept the bad luck.

Changdong looked at Minglan with a worried expression on his face. Although he was very young, he had learnt how to gauge people's mind because he had been given the cold shoulder by his father from an early age. Changdong knew that this was not good news for Minglan. When he saw Minglan leaning back in the chair and gawking at the ceiling in a trance, he reached out to pull Minglan's sleeve with concern. Minglan came back to her senses and smiled at Changdong, "Never mind. Everything will be fine after we meet grandmother."

Minglan earnestly weighed up her own abilities and came to a conclusion that she could not be sure of winning the battle against Chunge. So she decided to give up this possible marriage. As for Madam Liang, she had to find someone better qualified to be her daughter-in-law. This time Changdong had done a good job. With this secret information, Old Madam Sheng had a good reason to refuse Madam Liang. Wang shi hid the engagement with the He family from Marchioness Yongchang. So this problem was easy to solve as long as Old Madam Sheng returned to the capital and told Madam Liang that Minglan had been engaged.

Just as Minglan was lost in thought, suddenly there was a terrific bang coming from afar, shaking the river water and rocking the ship. Minglan felt her chair swayed. She quickly steadied her body and looked at Changdong, who clenched the arms of the chair to steady himself. They gazed at each other in confusion.

What happened outside?

Please report us if you find any errors so we can fix it asap!