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Chapter 100 Part 2: Willing to Stay a Couple for Life?

    Yun Qian Meng woke up early next day, right as Mu Chun was in the middle of wiping a table top clean. Seeing Yun Qian Meng rise with a pleased expression, she immediately paused in her cleaning to approach the bed and quietly said, "Xiaojie, you're awake."

    Yun Qian Meng felt a dull pain in the forehead, likely caused by the pill from yesterday. Rubbing her forehead, she nodded, then asked, "What time is it?"

    "The hour of the rabbit. If xiaojie is still feeling unwell, nubi will massage you." Mu Chun asked with concern when she saw Yun Qian Meng lightly rubbing her temple. "Nubi will go ask for Xiao Nie daifu."

    "No need, just help me get up. Today, my body is not burning, and I feel much better than yesterday. Everything will be fine after a few days of rest." With that said, Yun Qian Meng made to stand.

    Clink.

    A tinkling was heard when Yun Qian Meng got up from her bed.

    Mu Chun searched the ground following the sound, only to find an exquisite silver key. She immediately picked it up and gave it to Yun Qian Meng.

    The key was made of pure silver, and unlike normal keys, it was delicate and unique, it even had a strange smell.

    "Xiaojie, what is it?" Mu Chun was puzzled. The xiangfu did not have any such keys, even the keys to Qi Luo Yuan's treasury was still of a regular size. This was so small, she had never seen another like it.

    Nevertheless, Yun Qian Meng took the key and kept it within her sleeve. She had determined that that last night, Chu Fei Yang had taken advantage of her sleep and given it to her.

    Yun Qian Meng only walked to the dresser to take a seat, so Mu Chun immediately went to help her to dress. Remembering the invitation Liu yiniang's brought over, she went back for it and handed it to Yun Qian Meng. "Xiaojie, Liu yiniang sent this earlier, she said that Wu Guo Gongfu's furen was bringing their xiaojie over to visit us. In addition, there are also a good number of invitations asking xiaojie come visit their fu for a chat. Oh! Today, at the hour of the tiger, the housekeeper received so many gifts over at the gate, congratulating xiaojie and Chu xiang for being bestowed marriage by the Emperor."

    Yun Qian Meng took the invitation, and opened the red one. There, right on the top, was a delicate print that would immediately catch the eye. It seemed that Wu Guo Gongfu had sent it with something in mind.

    "What about the gifts?" since they were sent to her, she naturally would not let other people take them.

    "Liu yiniang left everything in the drawing room for xiaojie to look over." Holding a cow horn comb, Mu Chun delicately went through Yun Qian Meng's smooth fine black hair, and effectively put it up into a bun. She then picked several of Yun Qian Meng's favorite beaded hairpins and placed them into her hair.

    "Oh, right. Xiaojie, this is what Chu xiang had his housekeeper deliver personally early this morning. Please have a look." Yun Qian Meng took the small but heavy red sandalwood box from Mu Chun. It was sealed with an extremely small silver lock, so Yun Qian Meng pulled out the tiny silver key from her sleeve and inserted it into the keyhole before gently giving a twist.

    Click.

    The silver lock really opened!

    Yun Qian Meng lifted the lid of the box only to see that it was packed with priceless jewelry.

    "Oh! No wonder it was locked, it was filled with so much expensive jewelry." Inside, there was an array of jade, gold, and silver jewelry.

    Yun Qian Meng did not fuss over them like Mu Chun did. On the contrary, she just quietly studied the jewelry, finding that there were not the same style that was popular in the capital. Even their gloss looked like they had perhaps endured the test of time, while some seemed to not have been used.

    Regardless of how many hands this jewelry had already passed through, judging by the exquisite carved patterns, not just anyone could these.

    Chu Fei Yang had these delivered to her, perhaps because he was worried that she would fall behind a number of high-ranking people, so he gifted them to her to catch more attention.

    Thinking to this point, Yun Qian Meng reached up and took out the simple yet elegant orchid Hetian jade hairpin. Searching through the small box, she picked out a spread-eagled phoenix hairpin and had Mu Chun place on the left side of her hair.

    "Xiaojie is so dressed up today. Compared to any ordinary day, you look more honorable today." Mu Chun said with a knowing smile as she looked at the image on the copper mirror of Yun Qian Meng radiating a noble atmosphere. Her family's xiaojie was usually too plain, and might have been looked down upon by others.

    Yun Qian Meng only smiled faintly, then immediately stood up. Mu Chun was serving her some light breakfast, when Liu yiniang urgently approached them.

    "Greetings, xiaojie." Yun Qian Meng had just put down her bowl and was about to to rinse her mouth. Liu yiniang respectfully waited off to one side and did not look as anxious as when she had arrived.

    "Yiniang, why have you come?" wiping her hands dry, Yun Qian Meng had breakfast cleared away and raised up a small cup of tea to lightly take a sip.

    Although Liu Han Yu's heart was anxious, every time she faced Yun Qian Meng she had always been very respectful and never rushing or precipitation towards Yun Qian Meng. She would usually wait for Yun Qian Meng before started speaking.

    Today was the same. She only spoke after Yun Qian Meng had asked. "Yes, xiaojie, Wu Guo Gongfu's furen has brought along their xiaojie to pay a visit. They are at the old madam's Bai Shun Tang chatting. Rui mama, along with Bai Shun Tang's yatou and pozi, are currently welcoming them at the drawing room, as well as taking inventory of the congratulatory gifts. Nubi came to ask xiaojie to go over there."

    Liu yiniang words conveyed three things. First, Wu Guo Gongfu's furen and xiaojie had come to xiangfu. Second was that the old madam had monopolized the two at Bai Shun Tang. And third, the old madam had not thought to invite Yun Qian Meng.

    A sneer emerged from the corner of her mouth as Yun Qian Meng came to a complete understanding. It seemed that the old madam was like a cockroach; she would not stay down when beaten. She really had no shame. Yun Xuan Zhi and Yun Qian Meng had rejected her proposal time and again, yet she had helped herself and forced the visitors to go to Bai Shun Tang. It looked as if she was quite determined to pave way for Yun Yi Heng and his siblings.

    "Liu yiniang, have all of the congratulatory gifts sent over to Qi Luo Yuan. Don't give anyone the chance to take them. I'll be going, we wouldn't want to keep zumu waiting." Since the other party was so impatient, she naturally could not let them have their way. Otherwise would it not be too forgiving of her to let them do as they please.

    At Yun Qian Meng's words, Liu yiniang flashed a smile, immediately accepting the order, she left.

    "Xiaojie, Rui mama is being too presumptuous, for daring to touch xiaojie's things. Fortunately at that time..." Mu Chun had noticed the cold light that flashed through Yun Qian Meng's eyes so she swallowed back the remainder of her sentence.

    A sneer appeared on Yun Qian Meng's face, "These people should know that money does not recognize its owner. The measly fifty silver had only bought Rui mama for this long. How much silver would she need to last a lifetime?"

    In this world, there were few who were as kind as Xia mama who would willingly give up their life as long as it was for their master, who even went as far as to ruin her own legs to guard her master's legacy.

    Her was inevitably saddened, but as things were now, they could only move forward step by step.

    Before even entering Bai Shun Tang's courtyard, they could already see many yaotu and pozi, some wore clothing that was different from xiangfu's.

    Seeing Yun Qian Meng approach, they addressed her, "Greetings, xiaojie."

    Wu Guo Gongfu's servants were slightly distracted, but they immediately followed suit, "Greetings, Yun xiaojie."

    "You may all rise." Not in the mood to put up with them, Yun Qian Meng answered faintly as she entered the inner room with Mu Chun. The small yatou who lifted the curtains loudly greeted her, as if she were afraid that the old madam did not know of her arrival.

    Stepping into the room, one could immediately see that the old madam had the air of being the head of the family. One seat down to her right sat a beautiful middle aged lady who wore a sapphire blue moire buttoned jacket with a long skirt. Next to the beautiful woman was a young lady wearing a red rose floor length skirt.

    Presumably, these two were Wu Guo Gongfu's furen and xiaojie.

    When the three inside the room saw Yun Qian Meng arrive, all the eyes had looked Yun Qian Meng over. The old madam's eyes had a flash of annoyance which she had quickly hidden before she smiled and said, "You are unwell, why did you still come over?"

    Yun Qian Meng smiled and moved to stand in front of the old madam with grace, elegance, and beauty. She then respectfully said, "Paying respect to zumu is a granddaughter's daily task. Please don't blame Meng'er for being late today."

    The old madam's heart instantly burst with anxiety. What daily task? In several months, had Yun Qian Meng only come over a few times?

    Only after hearing that Wu Guo Gongfu's furen and xiaojie had come over did she suddenly run over. At a glance, it was obvious that she was not someone who was easily dealt with.

    The old madam naturally could not get angry in front of outsiders, so she had no choice but to suffer in silence. Swallowing her anger, she said in a kind voice, "Mu Chun, why haven't you quickly helped your xiaojie to stand up? Her body is weak, you must not wear herself out."

    Then, pointing a finger at Yun Qian Meng she said with smile to Wu Guo Gongfu's furen, "This grandchild of mine is very filial. She is usually very diligent and pays her respects daily; she has never skipped once. But yesterday, she caught a cold and had even gotten up late today, please do not take offense, furen."

    Wu Guo Gongfu's furen laughed upon hearing the old madam's words. "It's not easy for young ones like xiaojie to be this filial. Old madam is quite fortunate."

    But who could not hear the real meaning of the old madam's words?

    She was praising Yun Qian Meng on the surface, but in reality, she was actually saying that after Yun Qian Meng had raised her status by clinging to Chu wangfu, she was now using her illness as pretext to deliberately delay paying her respects. Perhaps after being coddled, she was now arrogant and somewhat frivolous.

    Yun Qian Meng went to take a seat. As the old madam slandered her, she quietly listened with half-lidded eyes yet she still had a very warm smile.

    Since Wu Guo Gongfu's furen had purposely mentioned Yun Qian Meng, the old madam had no choice but to say, "Meng'er, come here and greet Wu furen and Wu xiaojie."

    Yun Qian Meng obediently stood up and leisurely walked to face Wu furen in a smooth movement and greeted respectfully, "Yun Qian Meng greets Wu furen."

    "What a really polite child. Stand up quickly." Wu furen said with a smile. Her voice was sweet tempered but also somewhat astute.

    Then, Yun Qian Meng came to the Wu family's xiaojie, and together, they greeted each other.

    "Greetings to Wu xiaojie."

    "Greetings to Yun xiaojie."

    Yun Qian Meng raised her head. Wu Guo Gongfu's xiaojie grew up to be very much like her mother, smooth and round faced, with rosy complexion, and those almond eyes that looked quite calculative that perhaps may have even been passed to her from her mother.

    But the Wu Family's xiaojie was similar to Rong guifei, they rarely attended banquets so Yun Qian Meng did not know much about her. She only knew that the Wu Family's xiaojie's was called Qin Qin, and was the beloved pearl of Wu Guo Gongfu's laotaijun.

    When Yun Qian Meng was sizing up Wu Qin Qin, the other side was also studying Yun Qian Meng. Seeing Yun Qian Meng unconventional beauty, Wu Qin Qin smiled and said, "Yun xiaojie's looks could ruin a country. Qin Qin is ashamed of being inferior."

    Yun Qian Meng slightly smiled at that and then said with modesty, "Wu xiaojie overpraises. Qian Meng has an ordinary appearance, how can I shoulder a country's ruin?"

    Finished speaking, Yun Qian Meng returned to her seat and sat quietly to the side without making a sound.

    Wu furen then seized this opportunity to carefully observe Yun Qian Meng. But when she saw the spread-eagle winged phoenix hairpin in Yun Qian Meng's hair, her eyes were filled with astonishment and she unintentionally exclaimed, "Yun xiaojie's phoenix hairpin is really unique!"

    At this remark, all eyes looked towards Yun Qian Meng's Phoenix hairpin. The old madam's eyes grew nervous, her voice heavy when she asked, "Menger, this phoenix hairpin can't be worn by just anyone. Where did you get it?

    The old madam tried for ignorance again. This phoenix hairpin could only be worn by a furen or xiaojie of noble status. Though Yun Qian Meng was a daughter of Yun xiangfu, she might not have such qualifications.

    If word of this were to spread, she feared that Yi Heng and Yi Jie would also be implicated.

    When Yun Qian Meng saw the old madam's accusing look, she sneered in her heart, then unhurriedly said, "Zumu, some yatou sent some things over to Qi Luo Yuan. Meng'er saw this exquisite phoenix hairpin and had use it. Was it inappropriate of me?"

    "Haha, there's nothing wrong with it. It's just that it looks quite similar to the phoenix hairpin Chu wangfei gave her daughter-in-law." Since some yatou had sent it to Qi Luo Yuan, Yun Xuan Zhi surely knew of it, so Wu furen would not delve further, but this hairpin was still an object of great interest.

    As she uttered these words, even Wu Qin Qin was staring at Yun Qian Meng's phoenix hairpin. Though her eyes were smiling, they also held a trace envy.

    At hearing Wu furen deliberately resolve the issue, the old madam suddenly felt a rush of anger in her heart. When she received news of that Yun Qian Meng was engaged to Chu Fei Yang yesterday, her heart ache dully. Now seeing this phoenix hairpin that Chu wangfei had given to her daughter-in-law, she became so upset that she clenched both her hands.

    However, if this phoenix hairpin was the one Chu wangfei had given, that meant it had actually come from Chu xiangfu instead of Chu wangfu. This, in turn, meant that they also acknowledged Yun Qian Meng's. If they were to embarrass Yun Qian Meng now, there was no guarantee that she would not take revenge on Yi Heng and Yi Jie in the future.

    Thinking that far, the old madam quickly forced down the ire from her heart. She no longer wanted to look at Yun Qian Meng, but still carried on with a smile and said, "Meng'er, why don't you take Wu xiaojie around xiangfu's garden for a walk. You two might get bored while Wu furen and I have a chat. "

    The old madam seemed quite adamant in getting rid of her. Knowing that this time, the phoenix hairpin had crushed her arrogance, she only smiled and stood.

    Wu Qin Qin also did not want stay there. With an excuse to go out, the two of them walked closely together out of the Bai Shun Tang.

    The two were silently walking along a small path surrounded by bamboo. The leaves dancing in the wind only added to the beauty.

    As Yun Qian Meng carefully inspected their surroundings, Wu Qin Qin was slowly sizing up Yun Qian Meng, and eventually said, "Recently, Yun xiaojie has become the envy of every daughter in the capital."

    Yun Qian Meng stopped walking, turned around to look at Wu Qin Qin, and asked, "What is Wu xiaojie saying? I don't dare think that I am at a position to be envied."

    Wu Qin Qin did not get angry at Yun Qian Meng's words, but sighed lightly before continuing, "Yesterday, Chu xiang had asked to be engaged to you in front of everybody. This matter has already spread throughout the capital. Yun xiaojie was chosen through the peacock screen*. How could you not be the target of envy?"

    They sounded like words of praise, but they contained deep disdain for Yun Qian Meng.

    Chosen through the peacock screen? This Wu xiaojie thought so highly herself, and belittled Yun Qian Meng. One need not think this matter through to understand that much.

    But Yun Qian Meng still had a calm and collected expression. Seeing that Wu Qin Qin's face still held a smile, Yun Qian Meng only laughed and said, "Remembering Chen wang withdrawing our betrothal, Qian Meng is afraid of being the target of ridicule."

    Wu Qin Qin's face immediately fell, her eyes were filled with regret at Yun Qian Meng, and she quickly explained, "My apologies, Yun xiaojie, that's not what I meant. I just admire Yun xiaojie for having gotten a good marriage. Of all the women of the large clans, how many are so blessed? Just based on what happened yesterday, when Chu xiang had the courage to ask to be engaged, shows Yun xiaojie's good fortune."

    With that, Wu Qin Qin twisted the silk handkerchief in her hands, not know how to keep up a good appearance.

    Yun Qian Meng saw no other motive in Wu Qin Qin's expression from the attempt at explaining herself, so Yun Qian Meng gently said, "Wu xiaojie should not be like this, Qian Meng was just kidding. Come, let me show you around the xiangfu's garden."

    But Wu Qin Qin did not even move a step, she just looked up, slightly frowning at Yun Qian Meng and carefully asked, "You're truly not angry?"

    Yun Qian Meng smiled at her caution and reassured her, "Honestly, I'm really not."

    Wu Qin Qin finally cracked a smile, her round face made it look even more adorable. She thank took Yun Qian Meng's hand and happily said, "I don't have any sisters. Since we got along today, could I come to xiangfu more often in the future?"

    Yun Qian Meng looked at where her hands were held captive and lightly smiled, "Wu xiaojie is naturally welcome to visit Yun xiangfu."

    At that reply, Wu Qin Qin suddenly jumped up like a happy bird, and proceeded to run off.

    "Xiaojie, this Wu xiaojie is really cute." Mu Chun said with a smile on her face as she made to support Yun Qian Meng, who had not yet fully recover.

    Yun Qian Meng's lips had a faint smile, but her eyes were still cautious. Seeing as Wu Qin Qin had showed very little enthusiasm when she first arrived in the xiangfu, if she was genuinely pure, then she was quite scheming.

    Could she have also mistakenly spoken?

    Western Chu had two Prime Ministers-the Left and the Right. If Yun xiangfu was a xiangfu, then naturally, Chu xiangfu was also a xiangfu.

    Although she was unwilling to start a fight, she still could not allow others to scheme over her.

    And when she had first seen Wu Qin Qin, her eyes concealed a radiance in them. Obviously, she was not just a simple lady from a wealthy family.

    Moreover, after she became engaged to Chu Fei Yang, the other officials sent over congratulatory gifts, but only Wu Guo Gongfu had come to visit in person, and people might read into that.

    "Oh!" Wu Qin Qing's exclamation could suddenly be heard. Yun Qian Meng slightly wrinkled her brows and immediately led Mu Chun forward. Yun Yi Jie had appeared out of nowhere, and seemed to have accidentally encountered Wu Qin Qin. Fortunately, Wu Qin Qin had immediately halted, or else she would have run into Yun Yi Jie's arms, and thereby ruining her life and her reputation.

    "Why is cousin here?" When Yun Qian Meng had walked over, Wu Qin Qin immediately hid behind her, appearing to be somewhat afraid. Wu Qin Qin did not dare to look at Yun Yi Jie who seemed to have tried to grab her hand just now.

    Yun Yi Jie had unexpectedly wanted to kill this Cheng Yaojin, Yun Qian Meng. Remembering what happened between them last time, his expression suddenly turned ugly. Somewhat in a bad mood, he said, "What? Just because cousin is walking here, does that mean I am not allowed anymore? I am aware that this is cousin's house, I clearly have no seniority."

    His words came out sounding as if Yun Qian Meng was abusing her cousin by going as far as not letting him, who was only lodging, walk on the same path.

    Yun Qian Meng did not get angry, and only let Mu Chun take Wu Qin Qin's hand as she spoke indifferently to Yun Yi Jie, "Cousin has misunderstood Meng'er. Meng'er was just curious as to why, even though it's not a public holiday, cousin is here in the courtyard instead of attending classes."

    Yun Qian Meng began to approach Yun Yi Jie, lowering her voice, she continued, "Is cousin dissatisfied with father's arrangements? Or did someone ask you to wait here and leave it up to chance for you to catch a big fish?"

    Yun Yi Jie was welcomed the fact that Yun Qian Meng took the initiative to walk closer to him, but when he heard what she had to say, he immediately looked embarrassed. With wide eyes and gnashing teeth, he said, "You should speak using less alarming words. I just came back to change clothes. I have to go back to school in a moment, so I don't have time to waste here with you."

    Yun Yi Jie then fiercely glared at Yun Qian Meng, before he took his manservant with him and walked back to his Qing Hui Yuan.

    Yun Qian Meng narrowed eyes stared at Yun Yi Jie's back as he left up until he truly disappeared from view. She then returned to Wu Qin Qin and comfortingly said, "I apologize for startling Wu xiaojie. My cousin has just come back from school to change clothes. It is unfortunate that the two of you met unexpectedly and that xiaojie was agitated."

    Wu Qin Qin looked at the direction where Yun Yi Jie had disappeared to, only then was she reassured. "I'm fine. But I still ask Yun xiaojie to keep what happened to day a secret, otherwise..."

    "Of course." Knowing Wu Qin Qin had been embarrassed by the whole issue, Yun Qian Meng deviated, "Wu xiaojie must be tired, let's go back."

    Afraid that a man would appear again and that she would not be able to deal with him, Wu Qin Qin was no longer in the mood to stroll around the garden. She nodded at Yun Qian Meng's words and they proceeded to go back to Bai Shun Tang.

    As Wu furen was about to stand up and say good-bye, Wu Qin Qin had returned. The two then asked to take a leave from the old madam and left the xiangfu.

    As they were departing, Yun Qian Meng said that her body was unwell and also left Bai Shun Tang.

    Yun Yi Jie then entered from a side door into the old madam's room. Face full of anger, he went to sit down and took a large gulp of tea that was served by a yatou.

    "Yi Jie, how did it go?" when the old madam saw Yun Yi Jie's expression, she had grown anxious and decided to ask.

    "What else? I hadn't even touched her, and was already humiliated by Yun Qian Meng, that loathsome girl." Slamming the empty tea cup onto the table, Yun Yi Jie then severely kicked the table's leg in his fury.

    Slam!

    When the old madam heard his words, she suddenly smacked a hand onto the table and pointed at Yun Yi Jie's face with the other as she started to curse him, "You are her older cousin, you can't even talk past a little girl? Wu Qin Qin is fragile and weak, yet you didn't even manage to hold her hands. Thanks to you, all the painstaking effort of planning for so long has been wasted!"

    Being showered down cursed from old madam, Yun Yi Jie yet again had to suppress his anger. After all, they were only permitted to live in xiangfu because uncle was giving face to zumu's reputation. If he were to offend her, he might be sent back to the small region of Su City. Yun Yi Jie was clearly aware of his situation; he knew not to talk back and only wait for the old madam's heart to soften.

    Indeed, when the old madam saw that Yun Yi Jie was obediently taking the scolding, although her heart was resentful of him for failing to meet her expectations, she was still somewhat sorry. She ended up waving her hand and said helplessly, "Since you won't study, zumu can only advise you. If only you were studious like Yi Heng, I would have to worry over you. You've already missed today's good opportunity, let's just wait for next one. I have already invited Wu furen to come again to xiangfu again, so don't make the same mistake."

    Since she put it like that, Yun Yi Jie heart was elated. He immediately got up and faced the old madam to excessively pay his respects by bowing with his hands clasped. Feeling pleased, he said, "Your grandchild is grateful for zumu's help."

    He just had to get a hold of Wu Qin Qin next time she came and the position of Wu Guo Gongfu's son-in-law would be his. There would be no need for him to pass the imperial examinations and could still become someone that others curried favor with. How could Yun Yi Jie not be excited about this shortcut?

    At this time, Rui mama came into the inner room with a worried frown. Seeing the old madam's happy expression, she quickly walked to the old madam's side and whispered something in her ear.

    Slam!

    Once again, the old madam's palm hit the table. This time, the jade bracelet on her wrist cracked, but the old madam had no regard for this bracelet right now and said in a fury, "That little wretch, has she not learned anything? Doing exactly what that Su Qing did to snatch those things from me... Come, let's go to Qi Luo Yuan."

    Rui mama tried to stop the old madam and advised, "Old madam, Liu yiniang said that this was xiangye's command, that all the congratulatory gifts were under the name of xiaojie."

    At that, the old madam's body slowly sat back down, only the anger on her face would not dissipate.

    Without Mi mama's coordination, Qi Luo Yuan would be in disarray. Yatou and pozi carefully carried all kinds of precious gifts into the treasury, while Liu Han Yu once again came to Qi Luo Yuan. She held gilded red invitation card, and spoke looking a bit conflicted, "Xiaojie, Chen wangfu has sent over an invitation card."

    "chosen through a peacock screen" () - the full story can be read here. Basically it means that a winner was chosen out of a number of candidates. it still sounds a bit off, even with context but my guess is that based on the story, Li Yuan being able to shoot arrows doesn't mean he is all that great or anything.
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