Chapter 666 - Worried

Goodness gracious, was Imperial Prince Xu planning on moving from Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate to the Yu Family’s house? In addition to some of Imperial Prince Xu’s own properties as well as some of the rare treasures he collected, nearly half of the treasury from Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate had been emptied. This included a portion of Princess Consort Jing’s dowry as well. The weight of the dowry was not light!! Imperial Prince Xu really wanted to make sure his future wife would have face.  

However, when they saw Xiaocao’s dowry list, they became speechless! When the sole daughter from Prince Jing’s Estate married off to a distant place, her dowry consisted of a hundred twenty-eight chests full of precious items, causing all the young ladies from the capital to turn green with envy. It was probably impossible to fit all of Royal Princess Jinan’s dowry into a hundred twenty-eight chests. It seemed as if this would become a new record for the most amount of dowry received! Look at the quality of her dowry; it was definitely something that an ordinary family could never compare to. No, it was probably hard even for a wealthy family to match this. It could be estimated that it would be difficult for someone to receive a dowry worth beyond this even after hundreds of years. 

The most interesting part of this entire process was when the two families had to decide on the betrothal gift. This process would mainly be a discussion between the head of the family as the matchmakers mediated the conversion. The problem was that the matchmakers invited by the two families all came from prominent backgrounds. The emperor emeritus was alright. He missed Xiaocao’s cooking, so he came running pretty quickly. But the main problem was that no one dared to order him to pass on the message between the two families! On the other hand, the emperor was already a busy man. It was already a great honor for him to show his face. Due to this, Yuan Sinian suffered; his legs were about to turn into thin sticks as he ran between Prince Jing’s Estate and the Yu Family to pass on their messages. 

Generally speaking, when it came to negotiating betrothal gifts, the bride’s family wanted more betrothal gifts while the groom’s family wanted to give fewer. As a result, it usually became an endless quarrel between the two families. When it came to the two families, after Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate sent the list of betrothal gifts, the Yu Family looked through the list and started discussing which betrothal gifts they could take off from the list. After all, there was still a son in Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate that was still unmarried. The two sons should receive the same treatment. If both sons gave out such a generous amount of betrothal gifts, Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate’s family property would all be used up. 

After the matchmaker expressed the Yu Family’s thoughts, Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate not only did not subtract the number of betrothal gifts but also added a few more to the list. Princess Consort Jing told them that most of the betrothal gifts were saved up by her youngest son himself, and since he was willing to give, then no one else had a say in it. Her second son was stationed at the border and had stayed there for many years. Except for the occasional letters he would send to tell them that he was safe and healthy, he never came back. It was already difficult to find a female pig in the middle of the army stationed at the border, much less a woman. Even if Princess Consort Jing was worried about her second son’s marriage, there was nothing she could do about it. Princess Consort Jing had been saving up betrothal gifts for her second son and she would have enough in a few more years. 

Princess Consort Jing originally thought that among her three sons, it would be most difficult to arrange a marriage for her youngest son. After all, he was a difficult child when he was young. She was afraid of a tragedy where her son might accidentally kill his wife. She didn’t expect the Heavens to bless her youngest son, allowing him to meet the right person early on. He was usually cold and stiff like a smelly stone, but unexpectedly, he matured early. He understood that he had to decide on his wife early on. As a result, as soon as his wife reached a marriageable age, he couldn’t wait to marry her home. 

Her second son, who had been the least worrisome for her when he was young, became the most problematic one. Alas! She wondered if he would be willing to take a leave of absence after receiving the news that his younger brother was getting married. The Great Ming Dynasty was becoming more and more powerful, and the country was prospering, so there weren't many wars at the border. Why was he still in the army? Why didn’t he hurry back home and take a good look at the well-bred young ladies in the capital, so he could settle down early and marry? This unfilial son of hers didn’t even know how to empathize with his parents’ feelings! 

In a gloomy mood, Princess Consort Jing added a few more pieces of valuable jewelry from her own dowry onto the betrothal list. She was still pondering whether she should add a few more profitable properties onto the list. Even Zhu Junyang started to wonder if his lady mother had forgotten that she still had another son. Were they actually trying to empty out the family’s properties?! 

“Lady Mother, there are already a dozen or so properties and shops in the betrothal gift list, so there’s no need for you to add any more. Why don’t you save your dowry for my second brother? Otherwise, he would think you’re being biased to me, your youngest son again!” Zhu Junyang couldn’t remain silent anymore. He felt that the more the bride’s side asked to deduct from the betrothal gifts, the more his lady mother added to it. With this amount of betrothal gift, it was more than enough for him to marry an imperial princess with money remaining. Uh...that was just an example, after all, how could he marry an imperial princess? Wasn’t that considered marrying a close relative? Furthermore, there was a generation between him and the current oldest imperial princess! 

After Princess Consort Jing heard what her son had said, she put down her brush in her hand, sighed, and said, “Your second brother is hard to deal with due to his temper! It’s no wonder that he feels that I’m acting biased towards you. Since childhood, he was the clever kid that caused me no headache or trouble. Your eldest brother will be the one who will inherit the title and estate in the future, so your father naturally took him under his wing and raised him personally. Your situation was special, so it was natural for me to pay more attention and care to you! I would have never expected that the child who appeared to be the most obedient would be the one hiding the most resentment and dissatisfaction in his heart. Your second brother joined the army seven to eight years ago, and he had never visited us once. He must still blame us!” 

When Zhu Junyang led the troops to the northwest border, his second brother had already transferred to the southwest border. From General Zhao, he received news that his second brother was doing well. His second brother started off as a regular soldier and worked his way to a fourth rank commander. This was all due to the meritorious deeds he contributed during his time there. On his way back to the imperial court, he received news that his second brother had performed an outstanding job suppressing the bandits in the southwest border. He would definitely receive a promotion this year. 

The reason that he didn’t return to the capital for so many years was that Zhu Junxi initially had no vacation days due to his low military status. Later on, he became busy with earning military merits, so he really didn’t have the time to return home. He didn’t resent his family at all. 

Zhu Junyang comforted her and said, “I have already written to my second brother, telling him the news that I’m getting married. I have just received a letter saying he would definitely be present since he’s my elder brother. Lady Mother, you will soon be able to see your second soon, who you missed dearly!” 

“Is that true? When did you receive the letter? Why didn’t you tell me earlier that your second brother wrote you a letter?” When Princess Consort Jing heard this news, she immediately asked her youngest son to fetch the letter for her. She read the letter over and over again before she happily put the letter back in the envelope. She didn’t return the letter to her youngest son; instead, she put it inside a jewelry box on top of her dressing table, like she was storing something precious. The box stored all her most cherished jewelry, and among them was a Monarch Green Jade head ornament from her youngest daughter-in-law. 

Zhu Junyang’s heart softened when he saw this scene. Even though his mother complained about her children, it was obvious that she cared for and worried about them. He remembered that before he met his little lass, his lady mother’s health was not well, yet she was still worried about him. He believed that his mother’s health deteriorated because of his condition. At that moment, he stepped forward and embraced his lady mother’s shoulder and said emotionally, “Lady Mother, you are the best mother in the world!” 

Princess Consort Jing was surprised by his sudden hug. Ever since her youngest son fell into the water and was rescued when he was five years old, he disliked having close contact with other people. His temper became odder and more irritable as time passed. If it wasn’t for Xiaocao’s appearance, she didn’t dare to imagine what her son would become! She never expected that she would receive a hug from her youngest son again. This reminded her of the time when her son was still very young and liked to stick to her embrace the most. His chubby little body was so soft and he smelled like milk… 

After hearing her youngest son’s emotional words, the rims of her eyes turned hot. At the same time, she felt extremely grateful. Fortunately, the Heavens had heard her pleas and sent Xiaocao to her son. Her youngest son was growing into a ‘warm man’. Although he still maintained his indifferent and distant attitude on the outside, he was more and more willing to express his true feelings to the people he cared about! It was all thanks to that lass Xiaocao; she taught him well! 

At the same time, Princess Consort Jing was feeling a little sour in her heart——she raised her son with great difficulty, but he was rushing to leave the nest and rush into the embrace of another woman. Alas, there was nothing she could do since her son had grown up; he was probably going to forget her after marrying his wife… Fortunately, she had a reliable daughter-in-law. Whenever her daughter-in-law had something good, she would immediately send it to her future mother-in-law! 

“Cough cough!” Imperial Prince Jing had just finished attending to his official business. When he walked in, he saw the little brat holding his wife in his arms. He unhappily said, “What are you doing? Aren’t you too old to be acting like a spoiled child? Quickly release this prince’s wife. If you want to hug someone, you should head over to the Yu Family to hug your wife!” 

“How can you talk like that to the child?” Princess Consort Jing found the situation to be quite funny as she happily punched her husband’s body. She took out the letter her second son wrote and showed it to him, “Our second son is expected to return at the beginning of next month. I don’t know how long he can stay. I don’t even know when his next visit will be. I will arrange for the young ladies that I have taken a fancy to, to meet him when he returns, okay? This time, no matter what, I will make sure he will at least settle down on a marriage. Ah! Look at your sons, each and every single one of them caused me headaches! How old is your second son? He’s almost thirty, right? Do you think you can find an unmarried man like him in the capital at such an age?” 

When Zhu Junyang saw how his lady mother was nagging his lord father, he looked at him sympathetically. Then, he made an excuse to escape, “That...Lord Father and Lady Mother, my younger brother-in-law will be taking the metropolitan civil service examination at the beginning of next month, so I’ll head over to see if there’s anything I can help him with…” 

Seeing how her youngest son was leaving in a hurry, Princess Consort Jing sighed and said, “They say that a daughter will leave you after marriage, but having a son is no better! Look at him, he hasn’t even married yet and he already threw us to the side. Tell me, how can a crude general like him help his brother-in-law who is taking a civil exam? Isn’t he just using that as an excuse to meet his wife? There are around twenty or so days left before he marries his wife. At that time, he could look at her as long as he wants to.”  

“Yes, yes, yes! It’s all my fault! Our son loves and dotes on his wife because he took after me!!” Imperial Prince Jing saw that his youngest son had left and that the maids had also tactfully retreated, so he started to fiddle with his wife’s delicate and tender hands.  

When Princess Consort Jing heard his words, her face flushed red. She glared at him and scolded him playfully, “Aren’t you ashamed? What are you saying? Aren’t you afraid that someone will overhear?” 

Imperial Prince Jing peeled a grape, removed the seeds, and plopped it into Princess Consort Jing’s mouth. He said, “We are the only two people in this room. Who will overhear us? Besides, I’m telling the truth!” 

Princess Consort Jing ate the grapes that he fed her. She was feeling sweet and happy until she remembered the problem of her second son’s marriage. She frowned again and said, “I don’t care. When Junxi returns, you tell him that he will have to settle down on marriage before he can leave the capital. It’ll be even better if he can marry her before he leaves!”

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Translator: Vi