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Chapter 14: Obstructing a marriage

    Glossary

    meimei - little sister, younger sister; can be added to names to show affection

    jiejie - elder sister, big sister; can be added to names to show respect or a close relationship

    xiaojie - young miss; usually from a good family, but can be used to refer to any young girl

    di - related to the first wife, the children born of the first wife have higher standing

    shu - of common birth; in this setting, it means born to a concubine

    zhuzi - the masters of the household;

    yiniang - concubine, not the legitimate wife; added to the end of the maternal name to show their (lower) status compared to the wife

    laoye,  xiangye - old master, master; the head of the house

    (Edit: I was advised that Zhao's position  guanjia was more equivalent to the role of a butler in feudal China. It certainly makes sense, since he seems to hold a rather high position amongst the servants. Might take a bit to get used to it.) 😅

    Seeing that Su Qing and Yun Ruo Xue had arrived hurriedly, a streak of cold laughter streaked across Yun Qian Meng's calm eyes. Only, she didn't make any moves and continued to stand quitely at Yun Xuan Zhi's side, seemingly not caring about their sudden arrival.

    Yet Liu yiniang and Yun Yan slowly ceased their weeping as they approached. In particular, when Yun Ruo Xue glared hatefully at them, they were so frightened that they immediately lowered their heads. Originally planning to plead for mercy, their words were forcibly choked back into their stomachs!

    Out of everyone on the scene, butler Zhao was most secretly delighted. Seeing that his own zhuzi had arrived, his body straightened up from his previous kneeling crawl. His eyes that were looking at Liu yiniang and Yun Yan became even more conceited and provocative!

    Su Qing, under everyone's fearful gaze, held a mild expression as she walked towards Yun Xuan Zhi. Looking cute and helpless, she leaned against Yun Xuan Zhi and tenderly spoke, "Laoye, what happened? I see that you've given butler Zhao quite a fright!"

    As she spoke, Su Qing's eyes inadvertently shot towards butler Zhao, giving him an veiled look.

    He caught Su Qing's hint and had just opened his mouth to speak when he heard Yun Qian Meng say, "Father, the weather is chilly and the floor is cold. Yun Yan is still a xiaojie of the xiangfu, and didn't do anything wrong. Better let her get up, please?"

    Finishing, Yun Qian Meng pretended not to notice Su Qing's resentful gaze and stood in place. Her eyes expressing sisterly love, her face faintly showed a compassionate appearance!

    Yun Xuan Zhi was originally in a fit of anger, but when he saw Su Qing appear, his anger had somewhat dissipated. At this moment, hearing Yun Qian Meng's reminder, he nodded his head to see Liu yiniang and Yun Yan softly crying while kneeling on the floor, while Yun Qian Meng was actually concerned for her shu sister without taking heed their difference in status. He, himself, as the father, never noticed that his youngest daughter was already a slender and elegant young lady; couldn't help but feel some pain in his heart and softly said, "Liu yiniang and Yan'er should get up now."

    Liu yiniang and Yun Yan stood up compliantly under the glowering gaze from Su Qing and then deferentially moved to stand behind Yun Qian Meng, provoking another fierce glare from Su Qing.

    Only, before she had retracted her gaze from them, she heard Yun Xuan Zhi calmly ask, "Qing'er, I heard you betrothed Yan'er to butler Zhao's son as a concubine?"

    Su Qing had just received the news and hurried over because she was worried that the story would be distorted by Yun Qian Meng. Now that Yun Xuan Zhi had asked, her face wore a meek smile as recited the explanation she had prepared beforehand, "That's right, laoye! I saw that Yan'er is already of marriageable age. Moreover, butler Zhao's son was also someone I watched grow up, a child with decent looks and bearing, so I made the decision to draw up their marriage myself!"

    Finishing, Su Qing coldly glanced at the pair behind Yun Qian Meng with the corner of her eyes as her smile grew even wider!

    Catching her glance, Yun Yan's face darkened. Her teeth biting on her lower lip, both of her hands that were pinching a handkerchief under her sleeves had firmly formed into fists......

    Seeing that Yun Yan didn't dare to speak out eventhough she was angry, Su Qing smiled coldly and continued speaking, "Moreover, even if Yun Yan is a xiaojie of the xiangfu, Liu yiniang's status is too low. Yun Yan also doesn't stand out from the other upper-class young ladies in the capital, so I'm afraid that the younger generation of those noble clans won't have interest to propose! So why not marry her to butler Zhao's son? In the future, as family, butler Zhao will pour in even more effort when working for laoye!"

    Her words sounded fair and reasonable while also presenting Su Qing as virtuous and generous, completely giving others the impression that she was the Missus in charge!

    However, Su Qing's reasoning was not gapless......

    Yun Qian Meng coldly looked at Yun Xuan Zhi who was now, just after a raging temper, calm and tranquil. Her lips curled into a bland smile and, fixing her eyes that looked as deep as a pond directly at Su Qing's excessively virtuous expression, she slowly said, "Su yiniang's words are confusing! Talking about age, Ruo Xue meimei has yet to be engaged, so when did it become san meimei's turn? Besides, Su yiniang's status in the xiangfu can't be considered particularly noble either. So, based on your reasoning, Ruo Xue meimei who is also a shu daughter should also be married to butler Zhao's son! Father, Meng'er is untalented, can't understand Su yiniang's meaning!"

    Yun Qian Meng words were like a slap in the face to Su Qing, both her and Yun Ruo Xue's expressions turned ugly!

    Yet, Yun Ruo Xue's eyes hid an ominous glint. Wearing a cold smile, she retorted with an enigmatic air, "What are you saying, jiejie? Don't forget, jiejie is now a person rejected by your fiancée! In this life, fancying the families of lords and officials can only be your own wishful thinking! Wouldn't if be better if jiejie took Yun Yan's place to marry butler Zhao's son?!"

    Finishing, as if taking joy in the other's misfortune, the mother and daughter jeered at Yun Qian Meng. Mu Chun and others looked at the family's young miss with concern, feeling detested by the malicious pair. Going so far as to joke about the most important thing in a girl's life, if this was spread outside, it would damage the young miss's reputation!

    But Yun Qian Meng was too calm, causing Su Qing and Yun Ruo Xue's hearts, who were inwardly mocking her, to beat like a drum. As neither of them made any moves, Yun Qian Meng lightly opened her red lips, dully saying, "Don't tell me, Su yiniang and er mei didn't know that even father himself can't make a decision regarding my marriage affairs! Furthermore, what is my identity, and what is er mei's identity? If the way you disrespect your di sister was known to outsiders, then no one in the capital would venture to seek er mei's hand in marriage!"

    With her justification, even Yun Xuan Zhi who had planned to side with Yun Ruo Xue, could only inwardly glare at his blabbermouthed second daughter. He was just going to help her explain, but was unprepared for Yun Qian Meng's speed......

    "Besides, what is father's identity? Even a shu daughter has more more than enough status to become the legitimate wife of any number of lower-ranked officials! Father cannot, just to curry favor in the inner chamber, sacrifice the future happiness of san meimei! Look carefully at the so-called influential families in West Chu Guo, how many of them are connected by marriage? Father can't not understand this principle, right?!" Yun Qian Meng's speech seemed obscure, but was in fact very alarming, momentarily awakened Yun Xuan Zhi!

    Yun Xuan Zhi leaned over and sized up Yun Yan once more. He only found that his little daughter, although falling short of the dignified air of his oldest, had still become a rare elegant beauty. Besides, he only had these three daughters. If he didn't make use of them well, then he might not be able to garner the support he needed in the future as easily!

    Thinking this way, Yun Xuan Zhi's expression gradually turned heavy. His fierce eyes shot a penetrating glare at butler Zhao when he decided, "Butler Zhao, you shouldn't daydream about this kind of thing! Properly take care of the yiniang and xiaojie, just manage your own tasks properly!"

    Butler Zhao heard Yun Xuan Zhi utter this and knew in his heart that Yun Qian Meng's meddling had turned this matter into a lost cause. He could only swallow his hatred towards her and quietly answered, "Yes!"

    Yun Yan and Liu yiniang couldn't believe their ears. They didn't think that Yun Qian Meng could repel Su Qing's attacks with only a few words, and easily changed Yun Xuan Zhi's way of thinking. Their eyes that were looking towards her momentarily filled with gratefulness......

    Yet Su Qing and Yun Ruo Xue's expressions were very ugly. Su Qing had been in charge for so long, her words were already similar to an imperial edict within the xiangfu. She could not accept being overruled by Yun Qian Meng today; but because of Yun Xuan Zhi's judgement and verdict, she could only give up. Forcibly smiling to bow to Yun Xuan Zhi, she expressionlessly brought Yun Ruo Xue to return to the inner courtyard......

    "Su yiniang, please wait!" Only, Yun Qian Meng pursued and didn't let her leave, suddenly speaking to stop her exit......
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