Old Madam Cheng carefully looked at Cheng Yujin’s face. The girl who had always been so perfect and smart now was showing a dejected expression. Old Madam Cheng couldn’t bear seeing it and finally revealed her trump card: “Besides, this is just the worst ‘if’ plan. You may not really fall like this. Do you remember Zhai family’s little shizi who came to our house on the day of your grandfather’s forty-ninth day ceremony?”
This was Cheng Yujin’s real purpose. She said so much before, was just to pave the way for this.
Old Madam Cheng didn’t know that Cheng Yujin’s soft offensive had successfully fooled her. For this kind of matter, before getting a formal confirmation, it couldn’t be leaked to others, even to the informed party. After all, Cai Duke Manor only mentioned it verbally in private, and no formalities had been exchanged. If the news was leaked, Zhai family might be unaffected, but Cheng family definitely would, especially after Cheng Yujin’s broken engagement. Therefore, Old Madam Cheng became more cautious. If not for fear that Qingfu might be muddle-headed and privately promised Cheng Yujin marriage to another family on her own account, Old Madam Cheng wouldn’t even inform Qingfu.
After speaking, Old Madam Cheng immediately regretted her blunder. However, words had been spoken. Even if Old Madam Cheng wanted to take the words back, it was too late.
Cheng Yujin immediately responded, asking in feigned surprise: “Zhai family’s little shizi? Is grandmother perhaps talking about Cai Duke Manor’s only son Zhai Qing? I naturally know him, but why does grandmother suddenly mention him? Speaking about it, Old Madam Zhai also came to Xiangji Temple that day, and I also greeted her a bit. Grandmother, did Cai Duke Manor say something to you?”
Old Madam Cheng sighed. She just accidentally leaked a few things, but Cheng Yujin managed to connected everything together. It seemed that she should make it clear to the girl today.
Old Madam Cheng said: “It is indeed that Zhai family. You met Zhai Qing in the garden that day, and persuaded him to go back to study. Both Old Madam Zhai and Duke Cai were surprised. Their family’s shizi lost his mother at a young age and has no one to teach and discipline him. Duke Cai has long wanted to find a person to take care of shizi’s education. Duke Cai saw that you and shizi are getting along well, and you happen to have no marriage contract now. Duke Cai wants to marry you as his second wife. First, you can discipline shizi, second, you have the ability to take care of a duke manor, and third, they can make a good relationship with our Cheng family.”
Cheng Yujin’s heart gradually sank. Zhai Yanlin even said that he wanted to make a good relationship with the Cheng family. It could be seen that he understood Old Madam Cheng very well and knew how to bait her with profits. Cheng Yujin calmed herself down and asked: “Did Old Madam Zhai tell you this on Xiangji Temple that day?”
Even though it had been exposed, the rest of the matter still had to be concealed. However, Old Madam Cheng saw that Cheng Yujin didn’t show the shyness of a girl talking about her marriage, and instead analyzed calmly and rationally. Old Madam Cheng suddenly felt an urge to tease, and chose to tell Cheng Yujin the truth: “No. That day, Old Madam Zhai indeed made a special visit to take a look at you. She was full of praise of you, but didn’t directly ask for marriage. Taking a wife is a serious matter, and not something to be decided on after the first meeting. It was after the trip to Xiangji Temple was over, and we went back to the city that Duke Cai specially came to talk to me.”
Finished speaking, Old Madam Cheng looked at Cheng Yujin and smiled: “It seems that Duke Cai is really satisfied with you.”
It turned out to be Zhai Yanlin. Cheng Yujin was not in the mood to pay attention to Old Madam Cheng’s teasing look, and focused on analyzing the events that transpired that day.
The words were made by Zhai Yanlin personally to Old Madam Cheng after the trip to Xiangji Temple, obviously after she made the clear rejection to him. In other words, after receiving her excessive words that day, instead of stopping, Zhai Yanlin hastened the process and met face to face with Old Madam Cheng to propose the marriage.
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Did Zhai Yanlin have a brain illness? After all that happened, he still persistently entangled himself with her. However, Cheng Yujin didn’t have time to wonder whether Zhai Yanlin had a tendency of liking to get abused or not. Her mind now was full of her own impending crisis.
Zhai Yanlin had made his words clear. Looking at Old Madam Cheng, she was also deeply satisfied with this relationship. But this was not good. For Cheng Yujin, if she married Zhai Yanlin, her years of hard work would be greatly devalued, and she would have to spend a lifetime with that arrogant and stupid man.
Just thinking about it gave her a headache.
However, Cheng Yujin couldn’t handle Old Madam Cheng in the same way as she handled Zhai Yanlin. She couldn’t express her refusal and could only use a polite persuasion: “Grandmother, I shouldn’t meddle with my own marriage talk, but I vaguely remembered that second madam Zhai said that the current Duke Cai’s successor had been decided. Both the title and family properties all will fall on the shizi Zhai Qing. Being a stepmother has always been difficult. She has to raise the di son of the late wife under her care and cannot be too strict or too lax. Moreover, if she gave birth to her own children, she would be suspected of harboring a selfish motive.”
On top of that, being a duchess was hard work on its own. After working hard for so many years, all the benefit fell on the son of another woman, which was truly bad luck.
If the person in front of her was Cheng Yumo, Old Madam Cheng might hesitate. But this was Cheng Yujin she was speaking with. Old Madam Cheng smiled and gave her a very meaningful gaze: “With effort, one can achieve anything. You are a smart girl and will always find a way.”
Cheng Yujin prepared many arguments, but when she heard Old Madam Cheng said “With effort, one can achieve anything,” her lips stopped moving. There was no need for her to say more. Since Old Madam Cheng had said this kind of thing, what else could she say?
Cheng Yujin went out of Shou’an Hall and returned to her room, sitting silently for a long time. Lian Qiao gathered her courage and asked: “Miss, the Old Madam…Miss, what should we do?”
What should she do? Of course, to do everything she could. Cheng Yujin was silent for a while, and suddenly remembered a completely unrelated person.
“Where is Ninth Uncle?” Cheng Yujin asked suddenly.
“Ninth Master?” Lian Qiao paused. Although she didn’t understand why her Miss asked about Ninth Master, she still replied dutifully. “This servant doesn’t know. These few days, Ninth Master isn’t home. It seems that he is out visiting friends.”
Out visiting friends? Cheng Yujin was taken aback for a moment before she laughed at herself. What happened to her? She always depended on herself to overcome her difficulties. So why did she suddenly think of him?
Visiting friends was just a cover. His Highness the Crown Prince was clearly going to contact the palace to arrange the next plan.
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