GNU sponsored chapters (2/8) by CrankyReader, EmmaC-C and QiaoAn at ko-fi. Thank you for your support!
The first part of today’s sponsored chapters is Ch.19 Part 1.
Cheng Yuanjing had keen eyes. He soon noticed that Huo Changyuan was somewhat distracted. Cheng Yuanjing followed Huo Changyuan’s sight and found that Xu Zhixian’s tea and pastries were different from theirs. Cheng Yuanjing thought for a moment and realized: if Cheng Yujin really wanted to be nice to a person, her care would be like spring wind and rain, slowly penetrating. And it was also like a fine net, unconsciously let people fell into oblivion. When Xu Zhixian was with Cheng Yumo, he always acted freely and never showed reserve. But Cheng Yuanjing, as a man, could see that any man would never want to show their ugliness in front of a woman they really did care about.
After returned from his mind, Cheng Yuanjing suddenly realized that his pastries were also different. The pastries were shaped into leaves, tasted cool and refreshing, with a hint of bitter tea.
Oh, openly paying bribes?
Because of his childhood experience, Cheng Yuanjing never touched food made by others without conducting a poison test. But just now, he had just taken the second piece so naturally. Was Cheng Yujin’s handmade pastry really suited his tastebud, or was it because he had put down his vigilance with her?
For the first time, Cheng Yuanjing seemed to be aware of Cheng Yujin’s existence. He used to think of her as a junior, and still a young one, thus never saw her as an opposite gender. Her fiance canceled their engagement, and in a fit of anger, she did something unbefitting. Children wasn’t sensible, so Cheng Yuanjing tolerated her, just like adults tolerated children. Until this moment, Cheng Yuanjing finally realized that Cheng Yujin was already fourteen. Although young, she was a beautiful girl who could attract two men’s attention.
Cheng Yuanjing was silent. No one knew what he was thinking. During this time, Cheng Yujin has dug out Lin Qingyuan and Zou Cheng’s resumes. Zou Cheng was the son of ordinary commoners. From childhood, his mother and younger sister worked hard to allow him to study. Zou Cheng was also very hardworking and talented. He studied hard for years, enduring much bitterness, and finally won the top mark in the imperial examination. Cheng Yujin was very touched by the Zou family’s mutual efforts, but that’s it. She didn’t have the slightest intention to become a noble wife of a commoner’s family.
Lin Qingyuan’s family was much better.
Cheng Yujin secretly made her judgment while listening to their talk. Lin Qingyuan was born in Jinan, a province in the northwestern country. His family was a prestigious local clan, and for generations, has been renowned for their scholarly merits. Meanwhile, Chang duke manor has a noble title, which was better, yet didn’t have a single family member in the court. To sum up, both families could be rated as equally good.
Lin Qingyuan was the eldest grandson from the eldest son, and the family would eventually be left to him. Xu Zhixian was the di son of the second branch, although he was favored by old Madam Xu, once the old Madam passed away, his branch would have to move out from the manor, and from this point onward, would have little relationship with the power and wealth of Chang duke manor. On this point, Lin Qingyuan won.
Third, Lin Qingyuan was the zhuangyuan, and has now entered Hanlin Academy as a junior compiler, with a promising future. Xu Zhixian, however, was not even a scholar and didn’t have a career. On the personal future, Lin Qingyuan won with a perfect score. However, Xu Zhixian has a gentle disposition and was also her cousin. In the future, he would be easy to handle, and Cheng Yujin was confident about this. But Lin Qingyuan might not be so.
Cheng Yujin combined their family background, property, future prospect, and personality. At the final point, she found that Lin Qingyuan scored a little higher. Very good, Cheng Yujin’s candidate for her future husband has been replaced.
After making the decision, Cheng Yujin began to subtly give Lin Qingyuan more attention and care. Lin Qingyuan only felt that the conversation was particularly pleasant today, but couldn’t tell why. Lin Qingyuan couldn’t notice, but Cheng Yujin’s former fiance Huo Changyuan and the perceptive Cheng Yuanjing saw it clearly.
Huo Changyuan was extremely incomprehensible. He just thought Cheng Yujin still had a lingering feeling towards him. Now he understood that Cheng Yujin has long moved her sight to another man. Both he and his mother was overthinking. It was true that Huo Changyuan was the one who wanted their engagement to be canceled, but to see this kind of scene with his own eyes was uncomfortable, extremely uncomfortable.
As if seeing his fiancee leaned over the wall. (1)
Cheng Yuanjing drank his tea once again and found that the tea and pastries prepared by Cheng Yujin indeed suited his taste. He never showed his food preferences in front of Cheng Yujin. Cheng Yuanjing recalled carefully, the only times when they ever ate together were on the dinner table at several family banquets. Under the identity of Cheng family’s ninth master, he properly held his appearance. So only at this place did he reveal what he ate and what he didn’t eat.
Unexpectedly, it was only a few short meals, even the seats were separated by gender, but she still observed carefully.
If Cheng Yujin really wanted to treat a person well, her target wouldn’t be able to resist. Like a frog that was slowly boiled in warm water, the person would become more and more addicted. However, the woman who boiled the water saw a better option and instantly abandoned him.
She scolded Huo Changyuan for being ruthless and unjust, but in fact, she was the coldest and most heartless one.
Cheng Yuanjing suddenly felt a little irritated, and this feeling surprised him. He quickly found a reason. Lin Qingyuan was, after all, a promising youth he took a fancy of. Later, after restoring his identity, he could use this young man’s service. If he kept allowing Cheng Yujin with her schemes, Lin Qingyuan and Huo Changyuan would inevitably have a gap, and having them turned against each other was definitely not something he would want to see.
So Cheng Yuanjing opened his mouth suddenly: “Cheng Yujin.”
Cheng Yujin froze for a moment, and then subconsciously answered: “Ninth uncle?”
“Which word you want to ask me?”
“Ah?” Cheng Yujin was stunned for a while, but quickly remembered the original reason she used to appear here.
Everyone else had stopped talking and looked at the two curiously. Cheng Yuanjing stood up and said, “Come with me.”
Cheng Yujin was unwilling, but Cheng Yuanjing’s momentum was strong, so she could only follow him obediently. Others were surprised to see this scene. Lin Qingyuan was the one most familiar with Cheng Yuanjing. He smiled and said to other people: “Jingxing(1) does not like people to be close, especially when others touch his things. I never expect that at home, he is so easy-going with his niece, even let her casually in and out his study.”
Zou Cheng nodded meaningfully. He also knew how displeased Cheng Yuanjing was when other people touched his things. But his niece could easily go into his study and even sit alone to wait for him. Sure enough, everyone has double standards. Even Cheng Yuanjing was no exception.
Lin Qingyuan and Zou Cheng didn’t understand the inside story of Cheng family. Xu Zhixian was simple-minded and didn’t think much. The only person present who felt something not right was probably Huo Changyuan.
When did Cheng Yujin ever be so obedient? She stayed and wait patiently for a person. Then the man only spoke casually. She immediately stood up and followed along.
If this was Cheng Yujin’s real personality, neither of them would go as far as canceling the engagement.
An inexplicable suspicion slowly rose in Huo Changyuan’s mind: the uncle and niece’s interaction didn’t seem to be right.
(1) Leaned over of a wall: A wife having an illicit affair, from the idiom ‘the red apricot tree leans over the garden wall (红杏出墙).’ In Chinese, the word ‘fiancee’ was written as ‘unmarried wife’, so this idiom also explicable to women still in the engagement period.
(2) Jingxing: Cheng Yuanjing’s courtesy name. The practice was a consequence of admonitions in the Book of Rites that among adults, it is disrespectful to be addressed by one’s given name by others within the same generation. The given name was reserved for the use of one’s elders, while the courtesy name was employed by peers on formal occasions and in writing–Wikipedia.
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