60 The Fourth Miss Reveals Her True Feelings

    There was no long moment of silence following her statement. Nearly immediately, the Old Master stood up from his standing position, his hand slamming on the table.

    "Cancel the engagement?" he repeated, staring her down.

    "Yes." Yujia forced her voice to not waver as she opened the box of silver taels again. "I earned all of these taels because I don't want to marry the Old Master of the Yu family."

    The crowd disappointedly shook their heads upon hearing this.

    The Fourth Miss was a foolish girl.

    If she married the Old Master of the Yu family as a concubine, it would be better than anything else she could possibly accomplish with her status as an illegitimate daughter of such a small family like the Yangs. She couldn't marry into any big family as a main wife anyways. The Yu family's offer for her new status was already considered as something extremely gracious because of their good relationship between the families.

    Marriage was the only possible future for women. Marriage meant their new families, their new lives, and anything they could possibly be.

    Although the Old Master's decision to marry her into the Yu family was partially fueled by the desire to improve the relationship with the other family and the bride price that they would receive, it was also because of his desire to give his daughter the best life that she could have. Being a concubine was nothing glamorous in terms of a title, but it would give her better conditions than what she was experiencing in the villa right now. She would at least have a carefree future without worry about food, shelter, clothes, or any other materialistic needs.

    Seeing the lack of response from her father, Yujia continued on, "I don't know how much the Old Master of the Yu family gave you for a bride price, but I'll pay more than that in terms of taels." She looked up at her father. "If he paid you a hundred, I'll pay you back two-hundred. If he paid you two-hundred, I'll pay you back three-hundred. These one-hundred taels are just to prove that I am capable of it. Give me the price, give me some time, and I guarantee you that this will not be an unworthy expenditure."

    "Daughter- Yujia-" The Old Master hesitated, shaking his head.

    Madam Zhang cut in, "Yujia, you don't understand. This is all for your own good."

    The Old Master added in after her, "Yes. What she says is correct. The Yu family will not mistreat you. You may be just a concubine, but you'll receive nearly the same benefits as the Madam. They have enough resources to give you that. Your life will be better-"

    "Better, but happier?"

    Yujia couldn't quite keep up the calm demeanor she attempted to maintain anymore. She was angry- not just at her own fate, but the fact that this family of her never asked for or listened to much of her opinion. It was like this now. It was also mostly like this weeks, months, and years ago when the Fourth Miss was still the actual Fourth Miss.

    After all, if they really did listen to her, would they likely come up with this engagement and cause the Fourth Miss to be so disappointed that she put all of her thoughts into deep alcohol?

    They all claimed that it was for her good, but it was only for her good in their eyes.

    Yujia didn't care much for good conditions to marry into. Conditions could always be changed. She already proved that she could earn money for herself.

    But there were always certain things that couldn't be changed. Age, for one, was the biggest factor. Perhaps they could argue that love and emotions could be built, but how was Yujia supposed to romantically love a man old enough to be her father? How was she supposed to look at him romantically without feeling disgust in her gut?

    A secured marriage, for another, was something that couldn't be changed. Marrying the Yu family's Old Master would destroy her future. She could get divorced, but no one would want to marry a divorced woman. The Old Master could die of old age, but she wouldn't be able to marry another person either. She would be stuck for the rest of her life in the Yu villa.

    Yujia wasn't stupid enough to care for all those fluttery romantic endings. She wasn't trying to find true love. She just wanted to make sure that she could live a future where she was happy, a future that she was gladly secured with.

    It didn't matter to her if having the status of an illegitimate daughter meant that she had less choices. At the worst, she would just never marry, and perhaps go off to a monastery and become a nun. Even that seemed more appealing than becoming a concubine of such an old man.

    She came into this world to treat it like a new start. She didn't want to ruin her future with an undesired marriage.

    And so, Yujia decided that she would break this engagement no matter what. It was the only way to guarantee a different path for herself.

    All she needed to do now was to put her thoughts out to words and to hope that a little sympathetic part of the Old Master would understand her.

    "Father, this daughter has never asked for much in my life. I never expected you to treat me as equally as the rest of the young misses or for you to guarantee me an honorable position in the household. Yet now, all I ask of you is to do one thing, to cancel this marriage. I know myself better than you do, Father. I know that you may think of this as a better future for me, but I promise you that it will not be. Your daughter is not living a miserable life right now in the household. It's a simple one that I can live with. This is a life that I would rather prefer than one as a concubine in the Yu family."

    "But," the Old Master shook his head, "your status will be so much better in the other household. They have the wealth to give you a more fulfilling life."

    "I don't care for the status, Father!" Yujia's hands clenched by her sides. Why was he so close-minded? Why couldn't he see that this wasn't what she wanted? "I don't want the status, the wealth, the good silks, the gleaming jewels, the sweet spices- none of that!"

    Her father's eyes looked back at hers. She couldn't tell what he was thinking through his expression.

    A long moment passed, with neither side willing to say anything else. Then, Yang Qingxia opened her mouth, giving a rare piece of her input on the situation.

    "Father, you don't want Yujia to be the next Wu Yichen, do you?"

    Those brief words instantly caused a change of expression on the Old Master's face. Qingxia put her emphasis on Yichen's changed surname, and this was enough to cause her father to remember all sorts of things, such as a marriage arrangement for the Second Miss once called Yang Yichen that failed, and most importantly, the daughter that he had lost.

    The Old Master turned his face away, deep in thought. After thinking for a long time, he came to his conclusion and put out his final decision.

    "Yujia, know that I want you to be happy."

    Yujia nodded.

    "Know that this decision is coming from a person that wants for your best."

    Yujia nodded again.

    Her father took a deep breath. "Five-hundred taels. Get five-hundred taels to me before the date of the marriage- excluding the one-hundred you have here- and I'll cancel it."

    Yujia's expression faltered. So, this was how it would be. There was no way that the bride price was anything more than two-hundred taels, but here her father was, demanding an amount like five-hundred for him by a month.

    He knew that this was a nearly impossible task for his daughter, but she supposed that it revealed to her what he truly valued as more important: wealth.

    Yujia sighed deeply.

    Five-hundred taels?

    So be it.

    She would get that amount and prove to him that the pathetic Fourth Miss of the Yang family who was never counted for as much was capable of doing something within a month that he was barely capable of doing within a year.

    Yujia no longer displayed any obvious emotions on her face as she gave her father one last long look, then stood up from her kneeling position. She dusted the sides of her skirt off, turned around, and left without looking back.
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