Cheng Yujin was once again was ascertained by Lin Qingyuan’s magnanimity. This young man had a pure and innocent heart similar to Xu Zhixian, but was more capable and independent. Such a person, if she married him, she would have a very comfortable life in the future.
She lowered her gaze and whispered, “Thank you, Compiler Lin.”
Lin Qingyuan saw Cheng Yujin stopped by a lantern stall. He really believed that she was admiring a lantern just now, so he said: “There are so many lanterns with interesting shapes. Eldest Miss Cheng may as well stay here and have more look.”
“Okay.” Cheng Yujin nodded. People were coming and going on the street. Cheng Yujin glanced back and saw that Qingfu Junzhu and the others were still talking intently and did not pay attention to her.
A carriage passed by in the middle of the road, and when the carriage was gone, Cheng Yujin’s figure had disappeared.
Seeing Cheng Yujin’s figure suddenly disappeared, Zhai Yanlin frowned and subconsciously took a few steps forward. However, there were too many people on the street today. Zhai Yanlin looked around for a long time, but couldn’t find Cheng Yujin.
Zhai Yanlin’s frown deepened. Today, people of all ranks mingled on the street. Cheng Yujin only brought two servant girls with her, and it was too dangerous to be separated from her family.
He wanted to rush out towards Cheng Yujin’s last position immediately, but after taking just two steps, the event from two days ago burst out in his mind.
That day, he went out with his friends and colleagues as usual, but when he went out alone to sober his head, he was stopped by an unfamiliar face. However, as soon as the man spoke, Zhai Yanlin recognized his voice as a eunuch, and there was only one place in this world that employed eunuchs — the imperial palace.
Zhai Yanlin’s mind was instantly half-sobered by the shock. After giving a cold smile as a greeting, the imperial eunuch warned him with roundabout words, saying that some blessings were beyond him, and that he shouldn’t move his hand on something he couldn’t afford.
This time, Zhai Yanlin was thoroughly sobered.
He stood in the cold wind for a long time, and his complexion changed from flushing to pale. He kept thinking about the eunuch’s words. What was it mean by the blessing that he couldn’t afford? During this period, he hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary. The only difference was his plan to remarry.
When this idea hit him, Zhai Yanlin couldn’t believe himself. Cheng Yujin actually had a relationship with someone in the palace?
How could this be?
Zhai Yanlin no longer had the mood to drink. After leaving some words to his colleagues, he quickly went back home. At home, Zhai Yanlin’s mood was extremely ugly. After much contemplation, he finally confided to his mother and told her to temporarily put aside the marriage talk with the Cheng family.
When Old Madam Zhai heard that an imperial eunuch actually came to warn Zhai Yanlin, she was so scared that her soul almost flew out of her body. She didn’t dare to take a risk, so she immediately ordered Second Madam Zhai to cancel the marriage proposal with the Cheng family. However, they didn’t dare to offend the Cheng family, so they had no choice but to be very polite, almost begging the other party to let them dissolve the previous oral agreement.
There were still princes in the palace who had yet to marry. No matter how much courage Old Madam Zhai had, she didn’t dare to compete with the imperial family.
It just happened that the two families had made an appointment for the Lantern Festival. On the surface, it was the elders’ arrangement for the soon-to-be-engaged couple to familiarize themselves with each other. In fact, however, it was Zhai Yanlin’s one-sided decision. However, now that they had been warned by the palace, Cai Duke Manor didn’t dare to have any more thoughts. Old Madam Zhai was too old to go to the crowded street, so she sent her daughter-in-law to have a clear talk with the Cheng family.
Fortunately, there was no formal engagement yet, just the elders of two families exchanging a promise in private. As long as both sides kept their mouth shut, no one would know about this matter. Eldest Miss Cheng’s reputation wouldn’t be damaged, and Zhai family’s future wouldn’t be ruined.
Second Madam Zhai departed with a bitter face. Under such circumstances, Zhai Yanlin was obviously not suitable to see Cheng Yujin. But in the end, his unwillingness prevailed, and he watched Cheng Yujin stepped out of her carriage from a distance, separated by the hustle and bustle of the crowd.
She dressed up beautifully today. Although her dresses were all in white color due to the mourning period, when she stood in a pure white cloak under the lanterns, the light and shadow intertwined, as if the stars themselves were falling on her body and accentuated her brilliance.
Zhai Yanlin watched from afar, separated one world away. His hands clenched into fists. Unwillingness, shock, and indignation filled his heart.
At Xiangji Temple, Cheng Yujin hit his self-esteem severely. From birth to now, this was the first time someone had ever talked to him like that. All women flattered him and wished for his favor, but only Cheng Yujin alone regarded him as nothing.
Zhai Yanlin was stimulated to the extreme, which fueled his desire to take this woman as his own. Such was the way of the world. Even if Cheng Yujin was unwilling, could she refuse to marry him?
She totally underestimated Duke Cai Manor.
Zhai Yanlin followed his selfish intention and forcefully pushed through the marriage proposal. During this time, he was incredibly proud of himself. He had been thinking, what expression would Cheng Yujin show when she knew that everything was a foregone conclusion? When she finally married into Cai Duke Manor and became his wife, would she lowered her posture and came to beg him?
I enjoyed reading the discussion regarding Lin Qingyuan’s ‘advantage’ against ninth uncle (although I don’t like when the comment section becomes too heated). Let me add my own analysis:
Cheng Yujin isn’t someone who shy away from difficulty. Her goal regarding marriage is the best possible within her reach. If she wants to have an easy life with wealth that at least can maintain her current lifestyle, she would have long targeted Xu Zhixian. That boy’s personality is simple, his mother likes her, and Cheng Yujin herself is confident that she can control Xu Zhixian. Moreover, Xu Zhixian’s father isn’t the heir, so even if the situation of his extended family may be complex, he will leave the duke manor sooner or later.
Lin family’s ‘no concubines’ rule is surely a very attractive point, but it isn’t the only reason why Cheng Yujin chose him. She weighted all candidates, giving them scores, and Lin Qingyuan merely win by the total score. For Cheng Yujin, concubines are just family properties. Their management might be tricky, which is why Lin family’s rule is attractive to her, but even if her husband has concubines (like Huo Changyuan in previous life), she is confident that she can manage them well. It is only later, after she heard from Lin Qingyuan that he hasn’t married yet because he hasn’t found his ‘Lady Right,’ that Cheng Yujin felt a pang of envy – an envy she didn’t know she had, or probably just never acknowledged.
Cheng Yujin also acknowledges that she had seriously considered Zhai Yanlin as a prospective husband before. The fact that he is widowed, has multiple concubines, and complex family situation (difficult mother-in-law and sister-in-law) is more than compensated by his status, wealth, and power. Cheng Yujin is sure that she is capable to overcome all those difficulties. However, Zhai Yanlin already has an heir. This makes all Cheng Yujin’s effort, if she married him, result in nothing. All the family’s properties will go to Zhai Qing, while her own children will get next to nothing. Cheng Yujin’s ultimate goal in marriage is to enjoy her old age in life, comfort, and power. She is willing to work hard, but only if the return is bigger than the effort.
Cheng Yujin never considers Cheng Yuanjing as a candidate because he is clearly out of her league. Logically, she understands the difficulty faced by Cheng Yuanjing’s future wife, but she never thinks about it from her perspective. Does Cheng Yujin think that the crown princess position is not worth the effort? Or is she willing to take the risk to achieve the highest status possible? Unfortunately, we still don’t know.
My rambling has turned into a mini-essay haha. Thank you for reading! You are free to discuss in the comment section, but please do not turn it into a screaming/sarcasm contest, and obviously, no spoiler.
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