“The younger generations will do well on their own! You ah! You worry too much!! Okay, when the time comes, I will bring the child to go on a blind date, okay? Alas, it’s a sin to have too many children… oh right, our daughter will also be returning. She will be staying in the capital for a month. How about it? Are you happy?” Imperial Prince Jing mentioned his only daughter.
Princess Consort Jing was overjoyed by the news; she sighed and said, “In the past, we shouldn’t have married our daughter to such a distant place. It takes over twenty days on the road for her to return to the capital. Isn’t it a difficult journey?”
Zhu Junyang’s older sister, who was the second oldest of the family, Zhu Junya  , married Lu Nianhua, who was the eldest grandson of one of the founding fathers of the dynasty, Lu Changfeng. Lu Changfeng was well versed in literary and military strategy. He was also resourceful, and was known as ‘the second Zhuge Liang  ’. In the past he followed the emperor emeritus to seize power from the old dynasty. With his brains and the emperor emeritus’s brawn, the two of them swept everything before them and built the Great Ming Dynasty. If the emperor emeritus was the commanding officer in a modern era army, then Lu Changfeng was equivalent to the military chief of staff who assisted the commanding officer. The two people recognized and appreciated each other’s talent and forged an extraordinary friendship.
After the emperor emeritus abdicated from the throne, Lu Changfeng retired to his ancestral home to live in seclusion. The children of the Lu Family were equally proficient in literacy and military affairs. They were said to be extremely talented people. However, Lu Changfeng understood the meaning behind the saying ‘water surges only to overflow’  . He set up a family rule, stating that no one from the Lu Family can take up an official post within the next three generations. The Lu Family completely withdrew themselves from the political arena.
The Lu Family’s ancestral hometown was located in between the Guangdong and Guangxi districts. After he retired from his government post, Lu Changfeng opened a private school in his hometown. The school was originally dedicated to teaching the children of the Lu Family, but the reputation of the school spread far and wide. As a result, the private school gradually developed into an academy. The reputation of the academy located between the Guangdong and Guangxi districts was comparable to Rongxuan Academy.
When the emperor emeritus was young, he once joked with Lu Changfeng that the two families should become in-laws in the future. Unfortunately, the children of the second generation from both families were all male, so the matter remained unsettled. Later on, when Lu Changfeng’s eldest grandson, Lu Nianhua, was being harassed by a group of hooligans, Zhu Junyang’s second sister appeared. She was someone who defended the weak against the strong, so she fought the hooligans, causing the hooligans to run off. A heroic woman rescued a beautiful man and thus, the two became acquainted.
There was a very funny reason why Lu Nianhua was being harassed by the hooligans, but, at the same time, it was extremely embarrassing. His appearance was a mixture of all the best traits from three generations of his family. He had a delicate appearance and was often mistaken for a very beautiful girl when he was still young.
When Lu Nianhua was rescued by Zhu Junya, he was only eleven years old, so he was still short. It didn’t matter what he wore, because even though he was dressed in men’s attire, his delicate and beautiful face turned all the women around him green with envy. He actually looked like a young naive little girl crossdressing as a man at first glance. At that time, Zhu Junya was twelve years old and she inherited her family’s slender and tall figure. She was almost 1.65 meters tall. She had been practicing martial arts with her older and younger brothers at home, so she was more than capable of fighting against a group of hooligans.
Zhu Junya had also mistaken Lu Nianhua for a young girl who disguised herself as a man to sneak out from her family. As such, she nagged him for a long time, repeatedly warning him to bring a few bodyguards along when he went out in the future. She also warned him to avoid going to secluded places alone and prattled on about how girls needed to know how to protect themselves. She chattered away with him, making her appear like a caring older sister.
When she found out that he was from the Lu Family, she even kindly escorted him home in person. When she met Lu Nianhua’s mother, she told her not to blame her ‘daughter’ and that in the future, she should bring out her children more to gain knowledge and experience. This way, they wouldn’t sneak out and encounter people with bad intentions…
After Lu Nianhua’s mischievous mother found out what had happened, she had to stifle back her laughter until her stomach hurt. She pretended to go along with the story, by earnestly agreeing to the young lady’s words. She even thanked her profusely for saving her ‘daughter’. After sending Zhu Junya off, Lu Nianhua’s mother told everyone the story as a joke when the family members gathered around for dinner.
Lu Nianhua was speechless. He was often mistaken for a young girl since he was a child, so he had long been accustomed to this. He remained calm and collected as he ate and drank. His grandfather suddenly remembered the promise that he and the emperor emeritus made and joked that the two families could finally fulfill the original promise.
Although Lu Nianhua was a year younger than Zhu Junya, he was mentally more mature. He was an eleven year old boy, but he had already begun to have hazy and good feelings towards the opposite gender in his heart. The figure of the attractive and intelligent young girl, who was clothed in red attire, brimming with high spirits had already left a quiet mark in his heart.
In the coming days, Zhu Junya would often invite the ‘beautiful younger sister’ along to attend activities she hosted, such as horse racing, going for an outing, and hunting in the mountains… Because she was surrounded by her older and younger brothers at home, Zhu Junya developed a tomboy temperament. As a result, she didn’t play well with the young ladies from the capital, causing her to spend most of her time alone.
After meeting Lu Nianhua, she discovered that her ‘younger sister’ who was only a year younger than her, was very athletic. Whether it was horsemanship, archery, or life skills, the ‘younger sister’ excelled in them more than her. She was smart and was able to learn new things quickly. Zhu Junya both loved and admired her ‘little sister’, so the number of times she invited ‘her’ out to play increased. But Zhu Junya didn’t understand why her ‘little sister’ had a habit of wearing men’s attire. However, she knew that everyone had their own quirks and uniqueness, so she didn’t ask.
Zhu Junya’s temper was similar to He Wanning’s; she was blunt and a little careless. Three years passed and during that time, the foolish older sister still didn’t realize that her beautiful little sister was actually a man. That was until the year Lu Nianhua turned fifteen; he suddenly had a growth spurt, growing up from 1.6 meters to almost 1.8 meters in a year.
At the time, Zhu Junya had stared at Lu Nianhua, who was now half a head taller than her, with strands of a beard starting to appear around his mouth, and an Adam’s Apple that was starting to become more prominent. She was dumbfounded——when did her younger sister suddenly turn into a stinky man? Moreover, he was a beautiful stinky man?! Zhu Junya couldn’t accept the truth and became so angry that she ignored Lu Nianhua for half a year.
Lu Nianhua couldn’t sit still. In the four years they've been together, that girl had slowly entered his heart, and now she wanted to run away? Did she think it would be easy? One shouldn’t be tricked by Lu Nianhua’s gentle, refined, and calm outer appearance because deep inside, he was a thick-skinned and black-bellied man.
In the past, it was Zhu Junya who would often come by, looking for him to play with her, but now, he was the one who would often run to Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate. Zhu Junya was a year older than him; she was sixteen years old now. If Princess Consort Jing’s health hadn’t been deteriorating, then Zhu Junya would’ve already had a marriage set up for her.
When Princess Consort Jing’s health was starting to improve, she started to worry about her children’s marriages. Her eldest son was the heir to Prince Jing’s Estate, and at eighteen years old, his marriage was already settled by his father early on. Her only daughter was sixteen years old and she was a lady now. Although every parent wanted to keep their daughter by their side for two more years, they still needed to start looking for a suitable partner for her. Otherwise, all of the good candidates at the appropriate age would all be snatched away by others.
She didn’t know who her daughter’s temperament took after. Her daughter was careless and negligent, and, as a result, she didn’t play well with the other young ladies from the capital. However, her daughter still had a close friend. Her daughter most often talked about a young lady from the Lu Family, named Lu Nianhua. She praised her for her beauty, intelligence, and capability.
Her daughter had never admired anyone else, but she was subdued by a young girl who was a year younger than her. If her health wasn’t in bad shape and if she didn’t need rest, she would’ve long visited the Lu Family to meet this outstanding young lady that her daughter often talked about.
However, during this period of time, her daughter seemed to be reluctant to leave and stopped mentioning Lu Nianhua. What happened? Did the two young girls have a quarrel?
While she was trying to find an opportunity to ask her daughter for the reason, a servant reported to her, “Lu Nianhua is seeking an audience.” Zhu Junya, who was currently playing chess with her lady mother, had a sudden change in expression and firmly replied that she was not going to meet the guest.
Princess Consort Jing had long wanted to meet this ‘beautiful and smart young girl’ that her daughter had mentioned numerous times. She was under the impression that her daughter was just acting like this in a fit of anger, so she persuaded her, “Since the other party has taken the first step by coming here to look for you to reconcile and since there’s no hatred between the two of you, you should meet her. Once the misunderstanding is resolved, the two of you will still be good friends.”
She didn’t wait for her daughter to reply when she ordered the servant to invite Lu Nianhua to the inner courtyard. Zhu Junya was flustered and exasperated, but she didn’t know how to explain the situation to her lady mother. How did she even start to tell her lady mother that her friend who accompanied to play with her, whom she missed dearly, was actually a stinky man?
However, the facts made it impossible for her to continue being an ostrich. When Lu Nianhua heard that Princess Consort Jing invited him in, he was nervous and tensed for a split second before he quickly calmed down. Since he already had his eyes on the reckless and willful young lady, then he should remain calm when meeting her family. He needed to formally walk through the road to Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate; otherwise, the young lady he had taken a fancy to would be snatched away by others!
Princess Consort Jing was speechless when she saw Lu Nianhua, who was 1.8 meters tall and was currently in the period where his voice was steadily changing. She had a helpless expression on her face as she gazed at her daughter. How careless and scatterbrained could her daughter be in order for her to mistake a man for a young girl that needed protection?
“You can’t blame me! Who told him to have such an androgynous appearance? He has a face that would turn girls green with envy, so it's impossible for people not to misunderstand!” At that time, that was the argument that Zhu Junya made.
A pained expression appeared on Lu Nianhua’s face: He didn’t want to have such an appearance like this, okay? If he could choose, then he rather himself be a little tanner or uglier rather than having this type of appearance.
However, he was still the ‘younger sister’ she had ‘protected’ for four years. Seeing the pained expression on his flawless and delicate face, Zhu Junya’s heart immediately softened. As Lu Nianhua deliberately pretended to be pitiful, she gradually forgave him for his deception.
Although Princess Consort Jing was sheltered by Imperial Prince Jing, she could see through Lu Nianhua’s attempt to court her daughter. But she didn’t expose him, instead, she happily watched the young man slowly win over her daughter’s heart and step by step, walked into the young man’s gentle trap.
Imperial Prince Jing had already investigated Lu Nianhua’s background. He came from a good family background, his principles were good, and there was nothing wrong with his character. The only problem was that he was a year younger than his daughter. However, since the youth in question didn’t mind that his daughter was older than him, then he was fine with going along with the flow. Princess Consort Jing was able to take another load of worry off her chest since she no longer had to worry about her daughter’s marriage.
Everything flowed naturally. In front of the cunning Lu Nianhua, the simple and ignorant Zhu Junya was quickly captured. When Lu Nianhua was eighteen years old and Zhu Junya was nineteen years old, the two got married. At that time, Zhu Junya’s dowry was splendid; there were so many betrothal gifts that the train of gifts could be seen five kilometers away. By the time the first chest of betrothal gifts were entered the Lu Estate, but the last case was still in Imperial Prince Jing’s estate. This caused the young ladies from the capital to be extremely envious.
 Zhuge Liang - A Chinese politician, military strategist, writer, engineer and inventor. He served as the chancellor and regent of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period. He is recognised as the most accomplished strategist of his era, and has been compared to Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War.Previous Chapter Next Chapter