On the contrary, it was probably Cheng Yuanjing who supported Cheng family. The current Yichun marquis manor didn’t have any family members in the court. For many years, they held on an empty title and lived off the income from the farmland and shops left by the ancestors.
However, this world had no such thing as ‘if I don’t offend others, others won’t offend me.’ The strong preyed on the weak, especially when the food was limited. When a noble family didn’t have backing from someone on the court, others wouldn’t feel any deterrence to attack them. The end would be having their industries stolen or snatched, even taken over.
Although Cheng family was regressing year by year, the properties left by the ancestor still generating money without disruption. Anyone with working eyes could see that someone above was backing Cheng family, so others didn’t dare to touch them.
Cheng Yujin once thought that this person was Shu Consort. Imperial consorts and family members of an official were different. No matter how high a man’s official rank was, he dared not offend a favored eunuch. Similarly, no matter how powerful a eunuch was, he dared not easily offend favored consorts. Shu Consort was the eldest daughter of Chang Duke Manor Xu family, who was also an in-law of Cheng family. Cheng Yujin originally thought that people might be afraid of the Shu Consort, which indirectly made them wary of touching Cheng family.
But now Cheng Yujin thought that her guess was naive and ridiculous. Shu Consort didn’t have any children nor power. Under Empress Yang’s suppression, the Emperor’s favor was also minuscule. Even if others were willing to give her a face, that would only be given to Xu family. How was Cheng family mattered? The reason Yichun marquis manor still be able to preserve their wealth and honor this far was obviously thanks to Cheng Yuanjing’s protection.
It was ridiculous seeing Cheng Yuanxian and Qingfu Junzhu busily schemed to snatch the Old Master’s private properties, fearing Cheng Yuanjing would also covet it. But they didn’t pause to consider whether the Old Master would tolerate them. All these years, Cheng Yuanjing spent his own money. Cheng Yuanxian, Cheng Yuanhan, Qingfu Junzhu, and Old Madam Cheng were blinded by greed. The so-called huge private properties on the Old Master’s hand were simply a beautiful illusion. How much greed they had now was equal with the disappointment they would get when they finally saw the ledger.
Qingfu was wholeheartedly calculating the wealth that would be left behind by the Old Master. From the corner of her eyes, she saw Cheng Yujin standing on the side with her head down, not knowing what she was thinking about. Qingfu suddenly became worried and said: “Eldest girl, the most important thing for a person is to understand one’s identity and position. Both eldest master and I treated you as our own daughter. The life you enjoy until now, the clothes you wear, and the food you eat all come from our first branch. Even the double-sided embroidery that gave you praise from His Majesty was learned from my dowry embroidery master. People must know how to pay back gratitude. Those who received benefits from one but turned to help the other are destined not to end up well. Do you understand?”
Seeing Cheng Yujin was silent, Qingfu thought that she was thinking about her biological parents. Qingfu was afraid that Cheng Yujin would secretly report their plan to Ruan-shi and immediately gave Cheng Yujin a warning.
Cheng Yujin clenched her palms. Every time Qingfu Junzhu gave her even the smallest benefit, Qingfu couldn’t wait to let the whole city knew and never forgot to remind Cheng Yujin to be grateful every time. As for Ruan-shi, whenever she saw an opportunity, she would come to cry about the hardship being pregnant for ten months, and how that because Cheng Yujin was born first, she took up nutrients from her sister, letting Cheng Yumo to be born weakly and sickly. Both Qingfu Junzhu and Ruan-shi always told her to be grateful, to pay back for those grace and to not help outsiders.
One gave birth without raising; the other was raising without caring, dare to ask for gratefulness?
Cheng Yujin felt amused. She didn’t beg Ruan-shi to give birth to her and didn’t beg Qingfu to adopt her either. If they really were unwilling, Ruan-shi and Qingfu Junzhu could refuse the adoption back then. However, both of them didn’t dare to go against the Old Madam, and turned around to shift the responsibility on Cheng Yujin.
Such two mothers, where did they have the face to ask Cheng Yujin to repay their favor? Cheng Yujin was fed up in the extreme, but she quickly controlled her emotion and nodded smilingly: “Of course this daughter understands. Our branch breathes in the same air, sharing prosperity and loss together. This time, thanks to mother, this daughter was rewarded by His Majesty himself. It’s a pity that this daughter is powerless. Although the golden embroidery tools bestowed by the palace is an honor, it actually doesn’t have any real usage. If only this daughter has a good in-law family, I will be able to support younger brother in the future.”
When her son was mentioned, Qingfu’s expression turned solemn. She couldn’t help but ponder Cheng Yujin’s last sentence. Qingfu always felt that Cheng Yujin was only a daughter in name, whose adoption gave a blessing of Bao’er. Regarding her marriage, giving her a portion of dowry was already an extreme benevolence. However, Cheng Yujin’s words reminded Qingfu that marriage was originally an excellent way to join two different surnames. Each marriage was accompanied by many property movements and resources sharing. Cheng Yujin has a good appearance and a good reputation. Her usefulness seemed to exceed the value of her dowry.
Qingfu couldn’t help thinking that her natal family, Ning Wang, was far away in Jiangnan and beyond reach. Cheng Yuanxian was a useless man. It would be difficult to count Bao’er future on him. The only outstanding male in the second generation was precisely Cheng Yuanjing. However, based on the relationship between Cheng Yuanjing and the first branch, especially Cheng Yuanxian, Qingfu didn’t think that Cheng Yuanjing would support her son. Counting up and down, she could only put her hope on Cheng Yujin’s husband, Bao’er’s future brother-in-law.
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