“Why are you so hesitant? Don’t forget, you’re now a court official and you don’t get many days off for the New Year. In fact, you’d be spending most of your vacation days on the road. Uncle and Aunt Yu definitely wouldn’t be willing to have you suffer like this if they found out that you’d be braving the wind and snow on your journey to and fro just to spend a few days at home.
“If you’re really worried that there’s no place for them to live in, then there’s still more than two months till the New Years. I’ll be in charge of finding you a suitable residence within this time. Don’t worry, we’ll buy it with your money and put it under your name. Won’t that work alright?”
Zhu Junyang was unexpectedly attentive and considered all of Xiaocao’s concerns, leaving her without a worry.
Yu Xiaocao thought about it for a while, then raised her head to look at this spirited, handsome man and said lightly, “Why not...put it under my father’s name! I’m still young now, moreover I’m an official and I’m often busy with the Imperial Plantation. When I grow up and marry, it’s generally unacceptable for me to still go out and take care of these matters. My father is as good as I am when it comes to agriculture, so my father will probably take over the matters at the imperial farmstead in the future. He’s only in his early forties, and after two decades, my eldest brother should’ve already matured…”
Did she take the Imperial Plantation as her family business? However, it was true that the Yu Family had the most skilled people in agriculture as of now. At the very least, only this family could cultivate six hundred catties of winter wheat in just one mu of land!
Zhu Junyang’s gaze was gentle as he stared at her and he lightly tucked strands of her hair that were out of place behind her ear, chuckling, “You don’t have to be like this. Even if you’ve already married me, I won’t care about the views and opinions of others, so if you want to be an official, you can continue to do so; if you want to cultivate land, you can cultivate land; and if you want to earn money, you can go ahead with it. I’ll support you unconditionally!”
Yu Xiaocao was touched upon hearing this. She really didn’t think she could find another person who was so carefree, easygoing and wouldn’t detest her for ‘usurping authority’ and publicly showing her face when taking care of official business in this male-dominated ancient era. Regardless of whether he would be true to his promise in the future, at the very least he wasn’t like those obdurate old fellows who thought that she was disgraceful right now!
Yes, she was touched, but the results of his probation still depended on his performance. She cutely rolled her eyes and lied, “Who wants to marry you! You’re jumping to conclusions! We still have to evaluate your performance!”
“You’re right! I’ll work hard during this probation so that you might reduce the probation period again!” Looking at the little lass who was beautiful and lovely, Zhu Junyang couldn’t help the lament in his heart, ‘Time passes too slowly. There’s still three years until we can get engaged, whereas our marriage is five years away!’
“You still want to shorten the probation period? Dream on! If I’m not sixteen years old, my parents would definitely not be willing to get me engaged! The reason why we want you to perform is to see whether or not you’ll pass the probation, if you don’t, you won’t be able to become my husband!” Yu Xiaocao noticed that his hand was reaching towards hers, and lightly hit the back of his slender and large hand before he could do anything.
Zhu Junyang rubbed the back of his hand that was hit although it did not hurt at all, “I’ll definitely work hard to perform. I guarantee to meet Official Yu’s demands, don’t worry!”
“What should I be worried about?” Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at him again, “Back to the previous topic, I’d like to purchase a residence in the capital for my family. Even if my father doesn’t get stationed in the capital in the future, Little Shitou would still need to come here to sit for his examinations. With his cleverness, it shouldn’t be a problem for him to achieve second rank  in the imperial examinations. When the time comes, he could even possibly be stationed in the capital as an official. It would be too impractical to not have a residence ah!”
“Sure! I’ll keep an eye out for another residence. Our little God of Money doesn’t lack money anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem to buy two properties in one go, one under your name and the other under Uncle Yu’s!” Zhu Junyang noticed that his cold image had long disappeared ever since he met the little lass. He was becoming more and more like a chatterbox.
“That’s not right, we still need the big property that’s going to be turned into a beauty salon!” Yu Xiaocao was still concerned about her plan to make a fortune and hurried to remind him.
“Alright, alright! And a large, elegant house!” Zhu Junyang watched her with a loving expression on his face.
“Ahem ahem!” Fang Zizhen coughed loudly. If it weren’t because his wife was holding him back, then he would’ve beat up this kid who was acting as if no one was around! He actually dared to sweet talk his daughter and even wanted to take advantage of her right in front of them! ‘Be careful lest I break your roguish hands!’ Er...he would do his best even if he wasn’t necessarily able to defeat Royal Prince Yang.
Yu Xiaocao felt so speechless. The ancients were not wrong; beauty did, indeed, distract people! It must be because Zhu Junyang was too handsome, too considerate, and his voice too gentle, that she had completely forgotten that there were still three more people in the room. They had said so much publicly, and their conversation even sounded like they were flirting! Aiya, it was too embarrassing! It was all the fault of this handsome man in front of her! Her small hand reached under the table and pinched said person’s thigh and even gave it a twist.
It was so painful that Zhu Junyang gritted his teeth, ‘She’s right, it’s all my fault!’ Then, his gaze flitted to his future father-in-law’s face which was dark, so he immediately sat upright. Could he still make up for it now? Sigh! What a hard life he led. Other people only had a pair of in-laws to deal with, but his little lass had to make it difficult for him and present him with two pairs of in-laws to tackle. Sigh...the road to pursuing a wife was so long, when would he reach the end?
“Cao’er,” Fang Zizhen placed some venison in his daughter’s bowl and said in a serious tone, “You’re still young, so there’s no hurry for you to settle down! Besides, we’re not just looking at the face when we look for a son-in-law, we also do an overall evaluation! Your godmother and I have met many more people than you have, so you must seek your godmother’s and mine, as well as your parents’ opinions regarding this matter in the future. You’re a precious girl, so you can’t make these decisions recklessly…”
‘You brat, didn’t they say that you were cold and a man of few words? How are you cold? How are you a man of few words? There’s only incessant sweet talk coming out of that mouth of yours! You try to snatch my daughter away even when I’m right in front of you! I’ll have to stay in the capital to keep an eye out in the future—to take precautions and strictly guard my daughter against you.’
Yu Xiaocao was so embarrassed that she had nearly buried her face into her bowl. She didn’t know how else to respond except to nod her head. Zhu Junyang had tried to interject several times, but he always retreated from Fang Zizhen’s glare.
‘What probation? Who’s your wife? Have I, this father-in-law, agreed? There’s no chance that you can steal my daughter away with your clever remarks!’
Seeing her husband’s raging expression, Lady Fang grabbed some vegetables for him and comforted, “Alright, don’t get mad! No one will be able to steal our daughter away without your approval. Here, eat some vegetables, they’re already cooked until soft!”
Linglong had already told her every detail of the scene that occurred in the parlor room before lunchtime. Lady Fang was, of course, somewhat mad at her daughter taking matters into her own hands and promising her own hand in marriage. The young miss of their Count Zhongqin Household did not need to worry about her marriage!
It was true that they would be marrying their daughter into a household of higher status, and that Prince and Princess Consort Jing were quite sensible and reasonable, but Royal Prince Yang was simply not a good partner! Regardless of the fact that he already held a noble title at such a young age; regardless of the fact that the emperor greatly trusted him in these recent years; regardless that he would later separate from the Prince Jing’s Household and live in his own residence…
However, his temper that was comparable to a volcano eruption was unpredictable. Simply this one point was enough to overshadow all his other good points. The previous Minister of Rites also seemed like a pleasant person on the outside, very polite and well-mannered, but once his temper flared, he wouldn’t recognize even his own relatives. He had married three wives before, and it was announced that they either passed away from a disease or they died suddenly, but they were, as a matter of fact, actually personally murdered by the minister when he lost control of himself. Furthermore, there were the carcasses that were uncovered in the garden of his inner courtyard. Those poor people had all been the concubines and servants that he had killed when he lost control.
When he was exposed, the emperor had personally interrogated him. He sobbed, claiming that he didn’t know how he came to be like this. When he lost all sense of rationality, he couldn’t control himself at all, and when he came to, the people had already died…The emperor said that he probably had schizophrenia, so he would normally seem like any other person, but when his condition acted up, he would become a deranged murderer.
The Royal Prince Yang mentioned in the rumors was exactly like the previous Minister of Rites! If it weren’t because they had found out about his condition early and gave him ‘guards’ skilled in martial arts that were actually there to prevent him from acting up, then he would’ve probably killed a lot more people! She would not let her daughter jump into such a pit of fire!
However, once she heard Linglong finish describing all that happened in the parlor room, Lady Fang began to hesitate. Even if she didn’t completely understand her daughter’s temperament, she still understood her enough to know that she wasn’t the kind that could sit idly. Pray tell, which rich son of the capital wouldn't mind that his wife would be publicly showing her face outside, carrying out her official duties and running her businesses? If her daughter married into such a family, she would be akin to a bird whose wings were broken and put into a golden cage. She definitely would not be happy!
It was hard to come by, such a person like Royal Prince Yang who was an outstanding character and came from a distinguished family, who didn't care for anything besides Xiaocao. He was already of marriageable age, yet he was willing to wait for Xiaocao alone, willing to pamper and support her unconditionally. If she didn't consider the dangerous side of his temper, then the two of them were really a match made in heaven.
Lady Fang felt so conflicted, but she couldn't help but feel touched at the scene she just witnessed at the dining table. Every woman would definitely be touched by Royal Prince Yang's zealous side. As she thought of this, she sighed inwardly and began, "Royal Prince Yang…"
"Madam, please speak openly!" Zhu Junyang put down his chopsticks and straightened his posture, looking as though he was a pupil committed to changing for the better.
"Cao'er is still young, and she's the one that's the most well-behaved and pampered in the family. We don't really want to restrict her, so she might be a little clueless when it comes to the precautions of interactions between men and women, but you're different, you're born into a distinguished family and you're even of marriageable age. I hope…you can be more reserved, so as to maintain our Cao'er's good name. You know how important a woman's reputation is. If you really care about her, you won't bear to see her hurt in any way whatsoever, right?"
Lady Fang currently felt just like any other protective mother: Her daughter was absolutely perfect—even if there were imperfections, it would be the fault if others! Cao'er was still a child, it must be Royal Prince Yang who coaxed her into promising her hand in marriage behind her parents' back. Royal Prince Yang was at fault for all of this!
Previous Chapter Next Chapter