It was 22 years after Emperor Jianwu ascension to the throne. New Year has passed, but the temperature was still cold. This winter was long and gloomy. The calendar already entered the second month, and the weather was still not getting any warmer.
Yesterday night was snowing again. Early in the morning, the whole capital city was covered in white, with a glimpse of red roof and green tiles from all kinds of magnificent buildings.
In the eastern part of the city there was the Yichun Marquis manor. An old female servant dressed in gray-brown coat hurriedly ran towards the Jinning courtyard. She strode across the doorstep and after briefly rested her hand at the pillar, she took a breath and panicly shouted, “Eldest young miss, bad news!”
A young servant girl with tightly knitted hairbun lifted the curtain. She looked to be around fifteen or sixteen years old, exactly the best age for a girl, but when she glared and raised her eyebrows, her imposing aura didn’t lack even a bit momentum: “What are you doing, already so noisy at this hour. Don’t you see our Miss is inside?”
“Sister Lian Qiao ah, this old servant have an urgent news for young miss!” Granny Zeng yelled, then she hastily entered the room, “Miss, bad news!”
Eldest young miss rules were strict. Rough servant girls and old female servant like granny Zeng only allowed to enter yard area. Only second-class servant girls could enter the house, and the boudoir where young miss lived was restricted to first-class servant girls. Now Lian Qiao saw Granny Zeng tried to enter the house, she was so angry that she quickly blocked the door: “Impudent, don’t you know the rules! Do you think you can enter the house at will!”
Lian Qiao was the first-class servant girl who also greatly trusted by young miss. In this courtyard she was very respected. Granny Zeng usually didn’t dare to cross this little firecracker. But don’t know why, today she dare to fight Lian Qiao. She pushed the girl’s arms and said, “Sister Lian Qiao, this old servant really has urgent news….”
Lian Qiao immediately paused when she heard the voice. Even the noisy granny Zeng calmed down and obediently knelt down on the door: “Eldest young miss, this old servant really has important thing to report.”
The house interior was filled with lavish embroidered decoration, and also warm like in spring, truly the image of noble luxury. The boudoir was separated by an inner partition, blocking out outside gaze. After a while, a young servant girl dressed in a pale pinkish purple coat came out and softly said, “Miss has given her permission. You may enter.”
Granny Zeng scurried through lavish room, then walked towards the lustrous partition. This was her first time entering eldest young miss’ boudoir. All the beautiful and expensive decoration made her dizzy. Vaguely, she saw a beautiful silhouette at the midlle of the room. Granny Zeng didn’t dare to look directly at her and quickly knelt down: “Eldest young miss.”
“Speak.” Even just her silhouette, the young girl was already very beautiful. Now even her voice was like a jade bell. “What’s happen?”
Granny Zeng suddenly felt indescribable strangeness. This matter, she just heard it a moment ago and was so surprised that her eyeballs almost popped out. Then without even minding the road still buried in snow, she ran back to report to eldest young miss. The news still didn’t spread out, and miss wasn’t a clairvoyance. Moreover today she still didn’t left her courtyard yet, so she still shouldn’t now the matter in the front yard.
But, from eldest miss tone, she….. Granny Zeng suddenly had a ridiculous thinking. How could she feel that miss already knew?
“Miss, Jingyong Marquis manor came to cancel the engagement!”
Cheng Yujin motionlessly stared at the beautiful and elegant face reflected inside the mirror, so perfect as if being painted. Slowly she smiled.
Sure enough, he came to cancel their engagement.
This news can be described as a thunder on sunny day. Eldest young miss has just been engaged with Marquis Jingyong at the twelfth month last year. And now new year has just passed, why did they suddenly want to cancel? Putting aside the absurdity they conducted, just the matter of engagement cancellation was already shocking enough.
For a woman, even if the engagement was cancelled because of the groom’s fault, the consequences was still devastating. After this incident, her reputation was greatly damaged and it would be difficult to find a good family to marry in the future.
Granny Zeng was completely frightened after she learn about this. She thought that the Miss was stricken and overwhelmed, but after a long time passed, she saw the Miss still looking at the mirror, slowly smiling.
Lian Qiao and Du Ruo also didn’t expect this news. The two of them were instantly stunned. After finally regained their minds, they quickly shouted: “Miss! This, this…”
Lian Qiao’s mouth was faster, and she panicly interrogating granny Zeng : “Did you misheard things? Dare to pass such words in front of Miss, do you still want your life!”
Granny Zeng felt wronged, but before she even had any chance to rebuke, another voice stopped them: “She wasn’t wrong.”
Cheng Yujin put away the mirror. She was beautiful, and when not smiling was even looked more dazzling, hypnotizing her spectators. She glanced at the snow outside the windows. Her face was calm, but seemed to contain inexplicable sarcasm: “He really came.”
Cheng Yujin was the eldest young miss of Yichun Marquis manor. Her di(1) mother was the daughter of Ning Wang (2), titled Qingfu Junzhu (3), and her father was the shizi (4) of Yichun Marquis title. Born as the eldest di daughter of the main branch of a marquis manor, it was no exaggeration to say that she was born with a golden spoon.
Just like her name, Yujin, excellent and brilliant, Cheng Yujin grew up to be the ‘child from other house’ in the mouth of many adults. She already literate at the age of seven. She was proficient in chess, calligraphy and painting, talented in needlework, also filial and obedient. All girls in her peers were growing up being compared with her, that simply hearing her name made them nauseous.
Her life was so smooth for so long, making people feel it was a fiction. Many were waiting in the dark, secretly eager to see what kind of man would Cheng Yujing marry. Would her life still be so smooth?
Soon, however, they got the answer.
(1) Di : status for children born from legal wife. In contrast with shu children that born from concubines, di children got priority in all matters, including succession where usually only di son could succeed a family.
(2) Wang : princely title usually given to the sons of emperor. Like other noble titles, a wang title could be passed down to male descendants (though not indefinitely), thus a wang may be emperor’s grandson, great grandson, etc instead of a son.
(3) Junzhu : may be translated as county princess, junzhu was a title usually given to daughters of wang, one level lower than Gongzhu (princess, daughter of an emperor).
(4) Shizi : formal heir to a noble title. His wife was called shizifei (lit: the heir’s consort).
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