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GNU Ch 69 Part 2 – Worth (II)

“Duke Cai said that I am an ideal wife and mother, and I think so too.” Cheng Yujin smiled softly. It was the look she used most often in front of people. However, the bright light in her eyes was incompatible with the usually gentle and virtuous eldest Miss Cheng.

“My family has decent status and clean background. Even if we are not of the highest rank, my father is Yichun Marquis Manor’s shizi, soon to be titled marquis, and my mother is Qingfu Junzhu. In the eyes of many prestigious family’s madams, this is an ideal background for a daughter-in-law. There is the saying that ‘Men should take a wife from a lower status, women should marry a man of the higher status.’ My status is neither high nor low, but decent enough and clean. As for myself, I am beautiful and have a gentle disposition. My manner is excellent, I am good at social niceties, and proficient in the four arts of zither, chess, calligraphy, and painting. I am also good at cooking, embroidery, and household management. I fulfill all the requirements of a virtuous wife and good mother. Not to mention others, even myself also want to take such a daughter-in-law home.”

Zhai Yanlin frowned. These words made him uncomfortable. Zhai Yanlin curled his eyebrows and said: “Eldest Miss Cheng, as a boudoir girl…”

“As a boudoir girl, how can I say such things, right?” Cheng Yujin still smiled sweetly. “But this is the fact. Everyone acknowledges it. Ah, this is the result of my long years of hard work. From a perfect noble family daughter to a perfect daughter-in-law candidate. In the future, I will become a perfect bride, a perfect wife, and a perfect matriarch. This is my goal. As long as I can get what I want, it’s not hard to maintain this perfect image.”

“After I knew about Cai Duke Manor’s intention, I also carefully considered this matter. I can manage the duke household well. I can manage Zhai Qing well. Although it’s a bit tricky, it’s not impossible to regain the right to manage the household and bring the crooked Zhai Qing back to the right path. But let me ask Duke Cai, what can you bring me in exchange for my hard work?”

When Zhai Yanlin heard this, he was too shocked even to say a word. In the past, women would pounce upon him one after another. Whether it was to be his concubines or second wife, there were countless of them. But no one ever asked him, “what can you bring to me?”

What could he bring to her? Zhai Yanlin’s three views1 were having a violent turbulent. He was the dignified Duke Cai. He possessed wealth and power that made countless people envy him. He was tall, majestic, and had a good look. Shouldn’t women fall in love with him as a matter of fact?

Zhai Yanlin couldn’t believe it. He was used to be the one who chose. He never thought that there would be a woman standing on the opposite side, wantonly evaluating his worth.

Cheng Yujin didn’t care how great an impact was her words brought to Zhai Yanlin’s three views. She continued counting with her fingers: “If Second Madam Zhai’s words are not wrong, then the duke title and all the family property will belong to Zhai Qing in the future. That is to say, after twenty to thirty years of hard work, I have to raise another person’s son and won’t even get large rewards. Then why should I bother to work hard? Even if I give birth to a son, he can’t inherit the family, then why should I risk my life and damage my beauty to give birth to a child? Taking a step back, no matter how good I manage the household, those properties won’t belong to me or my children in the future. So why should I spend so many efforts to accumulate wealth for others?”

Cheng Yujin raised three fingers to Zhai Yanlin. “Wealth, power, comfort. Duke Cai cannot give me any of these. Why should I marry you?”

Zhai Yanlin took a long time to finally regain his ability to speak: “You…you are rebellious. Women should be gentle and tactful, supporting husband and raising children without asking for anything in return. How can you open your mouth so blatantly and talk about benefits and rewards?”

Cheng Yujin was already very impatient: “Duke Cai, I think you are also a high-ranking official of the court. Then let’s just speak openly. Since you want to form a cooperation with me, then you should show sincerity. Don’t bring nonsense like womanly virtue or gentleness to the negotiating table. I can bring peace and order to your family for at least thirty years. If you still want me to take care of Old Madam Zhai and correct Zhai Qing’s behavior, you have to add more bargaining chips. This is my worth. What about you? What can you bring to me?”

Cheng Yujin discussed marriage with the same tone as discussing a business deal. This kind of scene was not unfamiliar to Zhai Yanlin. On the contrary, he dealt with many people in the court and the army on a daily basis, using the same negotiating tactic to exchange interests and test each other’s bottom line. If he was dealing with the court officials, Zhai Yanlin liked this kind of person who showed their demands and worth straightforwardly. But in marriage…

Zhai Yanlin was utterly shocked. Cheng Yujin was like a sharp knife with no emotions. She mercilessly cut open the thick cloth that had blindfolded him over the years and presented the bloody truth before his eyes.

That’s right. Those women who pursued him, did they truly like him as a person? No. His wealth, power, and status were the key.

He had always deceived himself, thinking that he was extraordinarily heroic and charismatic, which attracted so much love from the women. But those women, those concubines in his home and even his late wife, which one didn’t look at his family’s status and future wealth? They all wanted to give birth to a son and gained a part of his family property.

This thought just never occurred to Zhai Yanlin. He maintained his ridiculous, stubborn male self-esteem, pride, and self-confidence he had lived in for most of his life. But at this moment, Cheng Yujin put on all the bargaining chips on the negotiating table, and for the first time ever, Zhai Yanlin realized that his self-confidence was actually so vulnerable. In front of Cheng Yujin’s calm, rational, and ruthless words, it collapsed easily.

Zhai Yanlin was agitated, and switched into the negotiation mode he used at the court. However, he immediately realized that he couldn’t bring anything out. Zhai Yanlin remained still for a long time, and finally said with a dry tone: “If you become my wife, I will treat you well, and you can have any gold and luxury as you want…”

Cheng Yujin laughed. Her voice was not loud, but the laugh directly pierced into Zhai Yanlin’s ears.

Zhai Yanlin felt an indescribable embarrassment.

Talking about feelings at the negotiating table was unbecoming.

“Duke Cai, your feelings are worthless to me. What else can you offer me?”

Zhai Yanlin could not answer. Cheng Yujin also didn’t expect him to answer, and immediately continued: “You cannot give me any benefit, whether in the present or the future. Then why do you want to marry me? And even stop me in the middle of the garden?”

Your feelings are worthless to me—this sentence hit hardly, and gave Zhai Yanlin the final and fatal blow. His male self-esteem was greatly hit. But he couldn’t even refute, because it was a fact.

Many women in the world were soft-hearted, but Cheng Yujin obviously won’t. The affection of her future husband was worthless to her. She wanted money and power, and didn’t want him.

Like a poor, dejected young man, Zhai Yanlin stood in front of the woman he likes, feeling at a loss as to what to do. He watched Cheng Yujin turned around and leave. He didn’t look away for a long time, and just standing there in silent depression.


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Translator’s note:

I always think that Cheng Yujin’s way of thinking is very pragmatic and modern, even for today’s standards. You can perfectly imagine her using the exact same rhetoric and argument during a job interview. In fact, the way Cheng Yujin sees and evaluates marriage is exactly the same as evaluating a career. Instead of talking about passion and whatsoever, she identifies what she wants, analyzes her strength and weakness, then uses the result to build her plan.

Imagine that since you are very young, you already know that there is only one acceptable career for you. The alternatives are either impossible to achieve in your lifetime, or merely too hard and bitter. You also know that you only have one chance to choose a workplace, and this workplace determines almost everything in your life: your success, wealth, comfort, safety, even life and death. Oh, you also start your career at around 15 years old, so you only have a little more than ten years to prepare. What are you going to do then?

Well, this is the situation of practically every woman of good birth in Cheng Yujin’s era. Taking romance into marriage is possible, but only raises a hurdle for oneself.

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  1. Three views: Refers to views on the world, life, and values. Having one’s three views collapsing’ meant that someone had to accept a shocking reality that challenging their preconceived ideas or beliefs.

48 thoughts on “GNU Ch 69 Part 2 – Worth (II)”

  1. Yoonim's dollar

    Yesss miss girl. Eyes on the bag! Why settle for the Duke when you already got the Crown Prince twirled on your fingers. ( although you probably don’t know yet🤗)

  2. Yessssss! I was literally chortling the whole time I was reading the chapter! Yujin is such a treasure – no one else would’ve been able to puncture that rose-tinted bubble Duke Cai had around himself. I wonder what he’s going to tell his Mom. I guess, in the end she’ll have to comfort him and patch his wounded pride.
    And yes, expecting tender feelings to spring from the marriage was pretty unrealistic in those times and possibly even a recipe for disaster. It was already good enough if spouses were able to respect and support one another, each providing what the other needed. Yujin and Yuanjing are sooooo lucky in this respect…
    Thank you for the translation <3

    1. Actually I believe that love can comme after because love is volontary and you have to feed it. If you chose a like minded person who respects you and also is willing to give their love and make the mariage work then nautrally you will love each other. Thé problem is that people have a tendency to give up and seek thé New instead of actually putting in hard work. In the case of Duke Cai first of all what he has is désire and he doesn’t even respect her. Once thé novelty fades je would go seek another beauty. Such feelings are worthless

  3. Wow. She’s so pragmatic and rational she is leaving a trail of broken hearts and shattered realities. Lol.
    She didn’t even need anyone to rescue her. Love it.

    Thanks for the update!

  4. Peter Tchaikovsky

    Ahhh that was amazing, I would love to see this scene acted out or drawn in a manhua!! Alas I tried to imagine it as I was reading but my imagination is so dry LOL

    1. Love the way she think. Especially at that time, love was not very realistic. Everyone was marrying just because of family arrangements or for money and power.

  5. Our Jin’er is so amazing!!!
    I really like her way of thinking and how she brilliantly resolves every obstacle. I wonder how Ah Jing is going to convince her to marry him, since it comes with so much more hardships.
    Thanks for the chapter!!!!

    1. Nothing is too hard for Ah Jing if it involves Jin’er. He’d go through the hardship of covering up his possessiveness and sentiment if it meant one day love could bloom from the initial business transaction.

  6. I mean, I always chuckle when so many don’t really understand harems and high of wife. Like, women in these days viewed it as a job. They literally train from birth to do a job, which is to be a mother. While love/hormones/attraction play a key role, it really came down from families negotiating with one another. No truly acceptable Di daughter would be married off to be a concubine, unless it was as a Cefei or Shufei in a Prince’s harem. Or an Emperor. Anything lower was typically shu daughters being shoved in as concubines.

    A shu daughter is even raised differently then a di daughter, I never even understood that. If the di wife/Mother is alive, you bet she is gonna keep that education gap between the daughters. It was a key separation of di vs shu, another way to keep her daughter alive and her position secured. A wife had security then from her own maiden home, along with a close relationship with her daughter’s new family via the grandson. It’s why I never understood, as well, as some novels had shu daughters openly beefing with di sons. Di sons are only real support these shu kids will have. Like, ugh. I like how realistic this author is. /end rant

    Thank you for the translation.

  7. Up until the 20th century, love had nothing to do with deciding a marriage. Marriage was a business merger between two families.

  8. She might just be my favorite MC. She knows exactly what she wants, she’s spent years working to make her resume fit, and now she won’t accept less than her goal There are of course risk with this approach (being picky may result in nothing), and since it’s a novel we know she’ll get her ML, but damn I admire her so much.

    Thank you so much for translating this story.

  9. It was really gratifyinhg to watch Duke Cai being embarassed. In the second half, where he actually starts using his brains and realises how correct Cheng Yujin is brilliant writing <3 <3

    Thanks for this lovely chapter!

  10. I really hope the author keeps her true to herself and motives when the crown prince feelings finally become obvious to her. I hope she doesn’t suddenly become love struck and we see a process and journey of reshaping of her thoughts.

  11. Stop baby! Stop! Can’t you see he is dead already? Please stop, change your target to the old cronies!

  12. No matter how rich, powerful or handsome a man is, if you are not respected by your husband and your mother-in-law, or if you don’t have a good backing, then there is a high chance you are going to live a difficult life. How many stories are there, about a wife meeting a tragic end because of the husband not favoring, not being liked by the mother-in-law, etc. ? The problem come to being able to identify a man who will truly set boundaries between official wife and concubine, and between Di and Shu. Also having a mother-in’law who’s not as unreasonnable as the mother of Duke Zai or Marquis Jingyong. The primary exemple is our FL, in her first life she was a perfect wife, and lived relatively well after marriage, until her husband distanced himself, and no matter how filial she was to her mother-in-law, she let her die in childbirth.

  13. Oh my god, I freakin love Cheng Yujin so much. She’s a genuine badass in her own right. That’s right, Zhai Yanlin – think about your own worth. You got nothing to offer. Nothing! Feelings are nothing in the face of profit.

    Thanks for the updates! <3333

  14. Yujis is indeed very pragmatic and has the thinking of modern people, i wonder if she would have even chosen to marry a guy if she was born in the modern world or would she have chosen a well paying and honourable job and lived a full filling life doing whatever she wanted travelling to different places and lived an unwed life.
    I for example think that it really is a waste to get married and share your house and wealth with someone, i mean if you have found a sincere person who respects you then you can just live as partners why would you make it legal and share your wealth with that person when one day all of a sudden he/she might want to got to another person, you will just be wasting your time doing unnecessary paperwork and paying lawyers when you could have saved that time and money to enjoy it on yourself. Im not saying that the person you choose is definitely going to have a change of heart down the road, im just saying that this concept of marriage doesn’t really have many positive points. If you are gonna get married so that you wont be lonely when you get old, then what guarantee do you have that you and your husband/wife will die on the same day, one of you is obviously gonna live longer than the other and don’t even think that your kids will definitely take care of you when you get old because they will have their own problems and your expectations will just make them feel more troubled. So in the end isnt it better to be not bound by a marriage?

  15. Just like what Vannie (above my post) said, it was as if ML isn’t needed. Given the era of injustice and gross inequality, we know she will need help one day.

    If only Cheng Yujin lived in modern era, her intelligence, wisdom, ambitious nature, and her work ethic (moulding herself for years to fit her career aspiration as a comfortable matriach of a wealthy family is nothing but hard work!), she wouldn’t need any ML rescuing her.

    Ninth Uncle was somehow lucky she was born in that era.

    Love the novel, love the FL.

    1. I think this is precisely why Ninth Uncle appreciates her. He likes the fact she is no damisel in distress, even when he appeared to save her, he knew he had to do so due to the social circumstances that limited what Yujin could and couldn’t do without damaging that reputation she worked hard to achieve. That is why we like this ML, because he is not sexist, despite the upbringing and, perhaps, it has a lot to do with his past hardships but also because he did got some love from Xue-shi, something that Yujin is obviously lacking.

  16. Thank you for the update and the great translation work!!
    I will say this has become one of my top three Chinese novels. FL like her are my favorite and hard to find.
    Do you have a Patron account?

    1. Bravo, Cheng Yujin! But I have to say, although Cheng Yujin’s analysis was extremely satisfying, I’m not sure how well a guy like ZL would take a reply like that in real life…usually people with that high an opinion of themselves take it very badly when shattered by someone they consider below them, and he has already shown a willingness to be sneaky and to intimidate her, plus she’s alone at the moment…

  17. I said she was about to roast a pig, but she butchered and minced its meat instead to let it out in the open to rot because the product was defective.

    Yujin isn’t just pragmatic, she is assertive in everything she does. She knows when to put the bs aside and when to go around circles to achieve what she wants. She can analyze the situation from her point of view but also from others’, and she is incredibly tenacious.

  18. Holyshit girl! Can i copy your words? I want to use them when an unwanted dude propose to me (in my dreams)

  19. dendenmushi2021

    This is what I love about MC. She knows that she is a materialistic girl because that’s what would make her secure and she’s confident about it. Well she has what it takes to demand those things. #bitchqueen

  20. I think Yujin mentality is understandable. She didn’t experience care and love from 2 lifetimes so she think that benefits are important than emotions. Ancient women were used as merely tool before…she worked hard to have perfect image bc of her dream of marrying a “perfect” guy in thay will give her more benefits.

    Now that she got money and growing businesses…she’s more confident that before.

  21. Mic drop!!!
    That was the best best best speech ever!!!!
    That had to be said, because Duke Cai face is so thick he needed that sledgehammer of truth to get it!!!

  22. She becomes this pragmatic because she had learned fro 14 years long that she can’t rely on anyone. She has no one to support her, no one who loved her so she can only be pragmatic and find the most reasonable and logical way to survive well and live comfortably.
    She has no expectation towards love, that’S why she said feelings are worthless to her.
    She had broken bethrothal and had seen what happened to her sister who supposedly had love.
    It will take time to let her believe in love. She had at least learned to trust someone, but he is unreachable in her eyes now so… she can only stay this way now.
    I love her retort. Duke Zhai is too full of himself, he has to open his eyes.

  23. Lamenting once again that this is not a modern novel where our girl can be a girl boss flexing CEO vibes as much as she wants.

  24. Love can blossom over time but if the other person can’t give you candy security then they are not the right person to marry. Women, please always know your worth.

  25. Trail of Resentment

    If this turns into a drama, I hope they give this justice. It gave me Love(ft. Marriage and Divorce) vibes. 😌 She’s like Sa Pi Young OMFG 😭💗

  26. Ngl the fact that he didn’t get angry and chased after her made me view him better at least.

    Though Idk if the next chapter will prove me wrong.

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