I freeze, then say with a smile: “How is that possible?”
She comes to a decisive moment upon seeing the situation, holding my shoulders and saying: “Ah-Lan……I’m speaking the truth.”
“How could that be possible?” I raise my hand to cover my mouth, voice a little shaky, “Ying Lu you’re joking, Meng Shao Jue is getting betrothed to another?” I raise my head, calming my emotions as I say: “Your brother clearly told me……he wouldn’t.”
“Would.” Ying Lu also calms her emotions, firmly saying: “His majesty made an imperial decree to bestow him with marriage to General of the Nation’s daughter, Brother has accepted the decree.”
I lower my head, falling silent for a long time before raising my head again, lightly smiling, “Oh.”
Ying Lu loses her previous firmness upon seeing this, speaking to me in concern: “Ah-Lan……you……”
“I’m alright ah.” I reveal my teeth as I smile, unable to feel any happier right now, “Give your brother my blessings for me.”
“Ah-Lan……” Ying Lu looks at me sadly, “Brother, he……perhaps has some sort of difficulties.”
“Oh.” I am still grinning in response, “Bless him and his madam with harmony lasting a hundred years.”
“Ah-Lan, Brother must has some difficulties!” Ying Lu’s anger towards Meng Shao Jue from before has been wiped clean, now firmly standing in ‘team Brother’, “The one Brother likes is you.”
I sound a laugh with neither warmth or coldness, “He will be getting married.”
“He wouldn’t.” Ying Lu tugs at my sleeve and shakes it, “My sister-in-law is you, my sister-in-law will only be you, Brother wouldn’t marry that woman, he doesn’t like her.”
I raise my brows, “How do you know your brother doesn’t like that woman?”
She is full of confidence, “Of course Brother doesn’t like her, the one Brother likes is you.”
“He said that to you?”
“Eh, that he did not……”
“No!” Ying Lu slams her hand onto the table, causing the teacups and teapot to tremble, “Brother never cared about Hua Cai Jin before, how could he suddenly be betrothed to her? Believe me, Brother must have his difficulties!”
I lazily raise my eyes, “Hua Cai Jin?”
“Yes!” Ying Lu coldly harrumphs, “The General of the Nation’s daughter – Hua Cai Jin! From the moment she saw Brother, she started clinging to Brother, the imperial decree this time must be a trick she pulled!”
“Is that……right?” General of the Nation’s daughter ah……is the imperial decree this time, a trick pulled by Hua Cai Jin, or is it perhaps a trick pulled by Meng Shao Jue? Who knows?
Ying Lu makes a few sounds of cold laughter, “Like I would let her have her way, so what if it’s an imperial decree? The one Brother likes is you.”
I didn’t respond, just lightly keeping my eyes lowered, the smile at my lips so light, it’s practically unnoticeable.
Su Qi ah, Su Qi, this imperial decree of yours, truly is……far too timely.
Ying Lu does not tell me what she was scheming, but when I hear the noises coming from outside the courtyard that next day, I pretty much get the idea.
A clear ringing female voice calls out from beyond the courtyard: “Ying Lu, tell Xiao Hei to stop running!”
Ying Lu helplessly say: “[Older] Sister Hua, our family’s Xiao Hei is just so naughty, even my brother cannot handle it.”
“Xiao Hei ran into the courtyard through that hole!” The clear ringing female voice sounds a little anxious, “Whose courtyard is this? Are we allowed to enter it?”
“Allowed! How could we not be allowed?!” Ying Lu’s voice shouts: “Aren’t you going to hurriedly open the doors?”
“Young Lady, our lord has said that other than you, other people aren’t allowed to enter this courtyard.”
“What does ‘other than me, other people aren’t allowed to enter’ supposed to mean?” Ying Lu looks dissatisfied, “Do you perhaps know who this sister here is?”
“This subordinate doesn’t know.”
“Idiot, wipe your eyes clean for me, this is but your future Prime Minister Madam! Is she considered other people?”
“Ying Lu.” The clear ringing female voice is very kind, “These two big brothers, I just want to go in to find Xiao Hei, will immediately come out after, wouldn’t stay for too long.”
Ying Lu speaks again: “This what this? Aren’t you going to hurriedly open up?”
The guard says no more, and the sound of doors opening is heard.
I gather Xiao Hei who was nudging my leg into my arms and leave the room, seeing Ying Lu and a young woman in pink clothing enter. That woman in pink may be dressed extravagantly, but her appearance is extremely average, a pair of eyes currently eyeing me up and down.
She turns to ask Ying Lu, “She is……”
Ying Lu walks up to my side, intimately hooking arms with me, grinningly saying: “Sister Hua has also seen it just now, right? My brother keeps her hidden here without letting anyone else see her, who does Sister think she is?”
Hua Cai JIn’s eyes turns cold, “You’re saying……”
“Nothing more than a distant relative of ours.” Meng Shao Jue’s figure appears in sight, cutting off Hua Cai Jin’s words with good timing. His handsome face carrying a light and refined smile, black hair half held up in a blue silk ribbon, body is also dressed in a set of long robes of the same colour, paired with the fan leisurely swaying in his hand, he exudes a grand air of a suaveness.
“Brother Shao Jue!” Hua Cai Jin immediately smiles dazzlingly, “So this lady is Brother Shao Jue’s distant relative!”
“En.” Meng Shao Jue tenderly speaks to her with a smile: “How did Jin-er come running into here?”
Hua Cai Jin paces over to his side, raising her little face to charmingly say: “Was just chasing after Xiao Hei with Ying Lu just now, as we ran and ran, we arrived here.”
“So that’s how it is.” Meng Shao Jue pokes her forehead, pamperingly saying: “I told people to makes some snacks, if we don’t go over now, I presume it would have all cooled down.”
“Let us go together then!” Hua Cai Jin joyously tugs at his sleeve, the two people wrapped in a harmoniously sweet atmosphere, all of sudden, actually acting like they’re the only ones here.
“Distant relative!” Ying Lu calls out in a strange tone, directly breaking such a perfect scene. Her eyes obviously pointing at something as she looks at Meng Shao Jue then looks at me, meaningfully saying: “A distant relative right now, but not sure about that in future. After Sister Hua marries into here, perhaps you would become much closer with this ‘distant relative’ of mine……”
Hua Cai Jin’s smile stiffens, displeasure flashing past her eyes, but she very quickly recovers her normal state, saying to me: “Since [Younger] Sister is Brother Shao Jue’s relative, you are my relative also, we still have to get along very well in future.”
I lightly nod, “En.”
She walks over to me, “Can Sister give Xiao Hei to me? Brother Shao Jue and I need to go now.”
“Alright.” I hand Xiao Hei who is in my arms to her, Xiao Hei struggles without stop, only calming down after I secretly glare at it. After Hua Cai Jin takes Xiao Hei, she sweetly smiles, “Thank you Sister.” Having said that, she turns around to leave, but when she spun around, she extremely dramatically twists her foot and falls down.
“Jin-er, are you alright?” Meng Shao Jue hurriedly comes up to her side, handsome face looking anxious.
“Brother Shao Jue, I’m alright.” Hua Cai Jin sobs and sniffles, a look of fragile aggrievement.
“I’ll go take you to see the physician now, don’t cry.” Meng Shao Jue swoops her into his arms, quite a scene of the hero rescuing the beauty.
Hua Cai Jin’s little hand clutches the clothing at his chest, so delicately pitiful, “Brother Shao Jue, wait……” She looks up at me, both eyes lined with tears, “Sister……why did you trip me?”
Meng Shao Jue’s thick brows knits together, eyes like blades as they sweep over to me, “Ah-Lan?”
Hua Cai Jin buries her face into his chest, “Brother Shao Jue, I don’t know why Sister Ah-Lan would stick her foot out to trip me, I don’t know……”
Meng Shao Jue’s eyes looks bottomless deep, “Ah-Lan, you stuck your foot out to trip Jin-er?”
Truthfully speaking, I really wanted to laugh, but I know that I cannot laugh in this very moment.
I slightly furrow my brows, “I……”
“Brother!” Ying Lu is unable to believe this as she says: “How could it possibly be Ah-Lan tripping her up? It was clearly her who fell on her own!”
“Ying Lu……” Hua Cai Jin lifts her head, that pair of eyes had already swelled up, “I know that you never liked me……”
“This has nothing to do with whether I like you or not!” Ying Lu angrily says: “It was clearly you who had twist your foot whilst turning around just now, hence falling down, what’s it got to do with Ah-Lan?!”
“Ying Lu……it really was Sister Ah-Lan who had tripped me.” Hua Cai Jin wipes away her tears, looking at Meng Shao Jue with a wronged face, “Brother Shao Jue, forget it, let’s go.”
“Good Jin-er, don’t cry.” Meng Shao Jue tenderly comforts the lady in his arms, then coldly says to me: “Ah-Lan, apologise.”
“Brother!” Ying Lu cries out with a look of disbelief, “It was her who fell on her own!”
Meng Shao Jue is not moved by this, long and narrow phoenix eyes fixed dead onto me, “Apologise.”
“Brother!” Ying Lu furiously stomps, “Don’t get deceived by her!”
But Meng Shao Jue’s eyes are still so cold, so cold that even I feel a chill surge up.
“Sorry.” I softly speak up, saying to Hua Cai Jin: “It was I who had tripped you up just now, I’m sorry.”
Arrogance flashes past Hua Cai Jin’s eyes, once again burying herself into his chest as she says: “Let’s go Brother Shao Jue, I don’t want to be here anymore.”
“Alright.” Meng Shao Jue gently responds, carrying Hua Cai Jin as he turns and leaves, his back figure tall and straight.
I satirically laugh to myself inside, look at this, even the most poorly executed and ridiculous show, will have its own admirers.
“Brother……” Ying Lu watches Meng Shao Jue and Hua Cai Jin’s leaving figures, blankly muttering: “How could Brother be like this, how could Brother be like this……?”
“Ying Lu.” I lowly call out: “I’ll head in first.” Having said that, I turn and leave, steps hurried.
Ying Lu, is this the deep feelings of your brother’s that you spoke of, did you get a clear look of it now?
“Ah-Lan!” Ying Lu ultimately comes chasing after me, tightly hugging me from behind as she says: “Sorry, it is all my fault, it is all my fault!”
“Ying Lu,” I lightly say: “This is a matter between him and I, it is not your fault.”
“It is my fault!” Her voice comes out like choked back sobs, “Had, had I not acted on my own accord in scheming today’s matter, had I not insisted on bringing Hua Cai Jin here, had I not……”
I turn around, looking down at her, “He’s getting married.” This is the true starting point of the whole matter.
“Ah-Lan!” Ying Lu bursts out in tears, “I don’t want it to be like this, I thought Brother had no other choice, I thought Brother, he……”
“Silly.” I reach out to wipe away her tears, bitterly smiling as I say: “He had just chosen what he wants.”
Her tears falls even quicker, “Ah-Lan, don’t cry, don’t cry, it’s all my fault, it’s all my fault!”
“Cry?” I touch my face, it’s actually wet, I try my best to hook up the corners of my lips, yet my voice also starts to come out like choked back sobs, “Ying Lu, I really……don’t want to see them.”
“It’s Brother fault, it’s his fault! He shouldn’t treat you like this on one hand and go marry someone else on the other hand!” Ying Lu resentfully says.
“Ying Lu……” I hug her, burying my face into the crook of her neck.
“Ah-Lan don’t cry.” Ying Lu sniffles, “I originally thought Brother can give you happiness, I thought you two would be happy! But he no longer has the rights to keep you here anymore!” She hugs me tighter, “I’ll take you away from here, how’s that? Let Brother go get married, we shall not see him again, how’s that?”
My tears drop by drop rolls down, wet and warm, “Ying Lu, you can’t take me away, how could we get out? He wouldn’t let me go……”
“We can think of something together.” She pats my back, saying: “There’s definitely a way, definitely.”
I fall silent for a moment, hoarse voice saying: “Perhaps there is a way……”
Ying Lu desperately asks: “What way?”
“Cousin once told me, should I encounter any accidents in Yun Ze, I can find one person.”
“The manager of the Pang family’s pawnshop, on Ba Li Street in the Capital, Yang Fan.” Yuwen Rui had previously mentioned this unintentionally, didn’t think that this piece of information, would really be put to use right now.
Ying Lu nods, her expression so serious and resolute.
Because she believes that Meng Shao Jue no longer has the rights to give me happiness.
This is my friend, my only friend in this era, and yet I have no other choice but to deceive her.
Because there is a much more important person waiting for me.