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The first part of today’s sponsored chapters is Ch.27 Part 3.
Hearing ‘property distribution,’ everyone in the hall became quiet. Old Madam Cheng entered the inner bedroom first. Cheng Yujin followed behind Qingfu Junzhu. Cheng Yujin’s position was right next to Cheng Yuanjing. She stepped back and made a very respectful greeting: “Ninth Uncle.”
The current Cheng Yujin couldn’t wait to worship Cheng Yuanjing like a great ancestor. Cheng Yuanjing’s eyes swept a glance, then bypassed her to step into the room. Cheng Yujin followed behind. Right after entering the bedroom, her eyes subconsciously fell on the mahogany cabinet. She immediately looked away nonchalantly.
The bedroom was soon full of people. Old Master Cheng lay on the bed and saw his family members coming in one by one. He opened his mouth: “My life won’t last much longer. While my mind still clear, let’s divide the family property.”
Cheng Yuanhan immediately retorted: “Father, what are you talking about? Your body is still good.”
This kind of remarks only made the Old Master felt ridiculous. His sons were looking forward to his death. The eldest was one thing, but this second son, even when his greed was so visible, still wanted to pretend. The Old Master didn’t have the intention to play along: “Even between brothers, accounts have to be settled down properly. While I’m here, I still can control you people. So I should make clear of the family properties as soon as possible, lest after my death, you all fighting for a bit of money and let outsiders laugh at our family.”
Both Cheng Yuanxian and Cheng Yuanhan’s expression turned guilty. The Old Master coughed and continued: “Our marquis title is currently in the second generation1. After I die, eldest one can inherit it for another generation. When it comes to Bao ‘er’s turn, we can only hope for the Emperor’s grace. I have done my best, and the rest is up to you. After eldest one is titled marquis, he will get all ancestral fields and lands. Eldest one’s wife is also in charge of the whole family, but the second branch will continue to live in the marquis manor.”
Cheng Yuanxian nodded quickly and said: “Father, I understand. In the future, I’ll take care of mother and second brother.”
This was a natural consensus. Old Madam Cheng was still alive, so the two brothers obviously couldn’t separate the family. Cheng Yuanxian has also long known that the marquis title would be his. The public lands would also be his. The same went for the responsibility of taking care of his parents in old age. What everyone really cared about was the distribution for the rest of the properties.
Sure enough, the Old Master paused tiredly for a while before continued: “Except for the lands and industries owned by the marquis manor, the public fund would be divided into three shares. Eldest one, second one, and ninth boy each get one share. The large objects will also be converted into silver, and equally divided into three.”
Hearing this, Cheng Yuanhan became anxious: “Divided into three?”
Cheng Yuanhan and Ruan-shi’s original expectation was having the family properties divided into two. The first branch had the public lands under Yichun Marquis manor’s name and already had a large enough share. Dividing the rest into two or three had little effect on them. But for the second branch, the difference was significant.
Cheng Yuanjing almost immediately said, “No need. Just divide it into two.”
Inwardly, Cheng Yujin scolded these idiots. How much difference was half and one-third could make? The crown prince obviously didn’t put a small marquis manor’s wealth into his eyes, but if His Highness took the share, it was equivalent to admitting that he was also part of Yichun Marquis family. With this kind of relationship, how much benefits would they get in the future? But if the properties were only be divided among the two brothers, then counting forward, Cheng Yuanjing would have nothing to do with Yichun Marquis manor.
It’s a pity that no one in the Cheng family knew Cheng Yuanjing’s true identity. Cheng Yujin was fretted, but couldn’t say it aloud. She coughed slightly, and pretended to say unintentionally: “The elder has given it. Since it is grandfather’s will, we younger generations should obey.”
Cheng Yuanjing lowered his head and swept a gaze towards Cheng Yujin, who immediately bowed her head. Cheng Yuanhan glanced at Cheng Yujin displeasedly, and secretly muttered in a complaint: Clearly his own daughter, but was raised by the first branch to be a white-eyed wolf2. And at this time, she still said silly things. Truly couldn’t comprehend the good from the bad.
Old Master Cheng looked at Cheng Yujin in surprise. Cheng Yujin’s head lowered even more, pretending to be a filial child. Qingfu frowned and said: “Don’t interrupt elders speaking.”
Cheng Yujin replied: “Yes.”
Cheng Yuanjing has no interest in Cheng family’s wealth. Just mere thousands of silver taels, these weren’t considered money in his eyes. Cheng Yuanjing kicked the ball back very skillfully: “Cheng Yujin is right. Since the elder gives it to me, it’s not good to refuse. Just put back my share and count it as a dowry gift to my eldest niece.”
In her mind, Cheng Yujin was overjoyed at this suggestion. However, with a great effort, she managed to say: “How can I accept this…”
“No problem.” Cheng Yuanjing glanced at the girl. “The elder has given it. You shouldn’t refuse. This is your uncle’s will.”
Cheng Yuanjing uses Cheng Yujin’s own words to deter her, what else could she say. Cheng Yuanxian and Qingfu quickly operated their mental abacus: having Cheng Yuanjing’s share given to Cheng Yujin was equivalent to the first branch getting two-thirds of the properties. It was obviously more profitable than splitting into two. Cheng Yuanxian smiled happily. “Eldest girl is sensible. You uncle and niece, one is filial and the other is benevolent. Truly a blessing of our Cheng family. Since the words have been spoken, then let’s do it.”
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- Nobility titles (and also for many imperial titles) aren’t passed down indefinitely. Most of the time, it’s limited to several generations. Unless the descendants kept contributing to the country, they would eventually lose their titles. This obviously a good system to prevent a heavy burden on the government (titles come with official salary paid by the court and other benefits) and simultaneously, allowing the rulers to keep bestowing title as a reward for meritious deeds. This, however, only applied for the titles held by males. Females can have a title, but cannot pass it down.
- White-eyed wolf: ingrates.