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Chapter 824 An Old Friend in the Mansion
“What does she want?” After Great Elder Princess left, Old Madam slammed her hand on the table so heavily that the teacup nearly jumped off it.
Shao Jing, making sure that n.o.body else except Nanny Yu standing behind Old Madam was in the study, replied “Great Elder Princess threatened us with the dowry thing.” He sat down, picked up his teacup and took a hard sip.
“Ridiculous! It is none of our business even if something did happen at that time. You acted like a coward just now, my son. What are you afraid of? She is merely a disgraced princess now. I don’t believe that she is qualified to report it to the Emperor.” Old Madam said in anger.
As Old Madam saw just now, Shao Jing kept humbling himself in front of Great Elder Princess, which maddened her so much that she almost stood up to defend her son. Old Madam never believed the Great Elder Princess would do what she claimed.
“Not before. But she will now!” Shao Jing shook his head with a solemn face, “Because Wanru is going to marry Prince Chen!”
“He’s just an…” Old Madam shut her mouth before she made an indiscreet remark. “Invalid as Prince Chen was, no one was allowed to call him like that. Obviously, he was a preference for both Empress Dowager and the Emperor.”
“Yes. No matter how arbitrary Great Elder Princess was, she would never be qualified to complain it before the Emperor, even though she spared her life to do so! But it’s different now. She can connect it to Prince Chen, the man deeply trusted by the Emperor. If someone plots against his marriage, it will be a matter of the Royal Family. And… ” Shao Jing suddenly stopped.
“And what?” Old Madam asked with anxiety. She knew nothing about the conversation between Great Elder Princess and Shao Jing before, for she had come late to the study.
“Great Elder Princess intends to accuse me of neglecting my duty on family management in front of the emperor, and ask me to divorce Jiang!” Shao Jing said with a serious face. He couldn’t do either.
Shao Jing understood that if he didn’t manage the family well, the Censorate would impeach him. How could he help the emperor govern the country if he couldn’t even manage his family? As for the divorce, he would not agree to do it, not just for the reputation of his son and daughter. He would not divorce Jiang even though she died.
“There is no need to be panic! The Emperor doesn’t even care about it!” Old Madam said in an indignant tone, though she wasn’t in full confidence. After years of even fight with Great Elder Princess, Old Madam was still “safe and sound”. So she believed that Princess was nothing to be scared.
“Mother, Things are different. The emperor cared less about it before, which doesn’t mean he is still unconcerned now. Now Prince Chen is involved!” Shao Jing shook his head and said with a wry smile. He was not as naive as Old Madam.
He didn’t dare to go against the Great Elder Princess, because it wasn’t worth doing it for some dowries.
“But the property is to be inherited to Hua’an. What are you going to tell him if they are given away?” Old Madam pounded the table heavily and said in anger.
She had planned to leave everything in the mansion to her elderly grandson, but now she lost a lot because of the mess of the dowry.
“We will talk about Hua’an later!” Shao Jing said, shaking his head and thinking in mind, “I have to give in.” Then, doubtfully, he asked, “Mother, do you think that Wanru has said something to Great Elder Princess? And that makes the Princess different from what she was?”
“Uh… I don’t think so. She has just returned to the mansion and has not met Great Elder Princess before!” Old Madam said with hesitation. She had the same suspicion before, but after thinking about it, she felt that it was impossible.
“That will be the best. It’s not a good thing for the entire Duke Xing’s Mansion that my fifth niece is a shrewd girl!” Shao Jing said, frowning.
In a moment, Old Madam’s face turned pale. She widened her eyes and said, “Don’t you want to…”
“No, Mother, don’t worry. I won’t do that for the time being!” Shao Jing shook his head.
“That’s right. Wanru’s status is unusual now. You can’t get her in trouble.” Old Madam breathed a sigh of relief and reminded him, “she is helpful to our family now.”
“I won’t. Mother, you should go, and hurry up to prepare the dowry for Wanru. We need to satisfy Great Elder Princess so that she won’t bother us again!” Shao Jing said.
“Since you have made the decision, let’s do it!” Old Madam sighed, feeling hopeless. “I am getting old!”
Nanny Yu came over and gently ma.s.saged Old Madam’s back. There was a trace of panic in her slightly-closed eyes, but she hid it and tried to look calm.
Shao Jing cast a glance at Nanny Yu and then turned it to Old Madam. He asked in an indifferent tone, “Mother, what about Hua’an’s marriage?”
“Let’s hold his wedding before Wanru’s. It is really against the rules that the fifth girl gets married first. None of her brothers and sisters in the mansion has been married yet! Isn’t Prince Chen younger than Prince Yue and Prince Zhou? Why did he get married earlier?”
Old Madam said with confusion and became more and more annoyed.
“Minister Zhao’s Mansion is not occupied with other business. Let’s exchange wedding gifts in the two days. Hua’an is no longer a child, so he should get married as soon as possible. However, Shao Wanru will get married soon, and that makes it seem that he is in a hurry.”
There were not enough embroidery ladies in the mansion, who had to work for the weddings of both Shao Hua’an and Shao Wanru. So they had to employ more embroidery ladies from outside, and they had to order plenty of embroideries from outside, too. Thinking that all burdens would eventually fell on her, Old Madam felt irritated.
Her third daughter-in-law’s health was in bad condition. She wasn’t reliable at all.
“Ask Concubine Lu to come and give me a favor. I’m an old woman, both mentally and physically weak now!” Old Madam said. Concubine Lu was Shao Jie’er’s biological mother.
“Okay, mother, I will ask her and Third Sister-in-law to help you!” Shao Jing nodded. But he was thinking about something else in mind, his eyebrows tightly frowning…
After going out of the study, Shao Wanru walked with Great Elder Princess along the way. The servant girls and old maids were a few steps behind them, so they could not hear what they were talking.
“Grandma, could it be possible that my mother was really… ” Shao Wanru, biting her lip, told Princess the doubts in her heart, which gave her a stronger feeling that her guess was right.
“Zhuozhuo, don’t worry. I will investigate it. If your mother was indeed murdered, I will let go none of them in Duke Xing’s Mansion!” Great Elder Princess said in great hatred. Although her eyes had been in tears, she was tough, comforting her delicate granddaughter by holding their hands together.
At first, it was just a concocted excuse to threaten Shao Jing. But now, Great Elder Princess had the same idea as Shao Wanru that it was possible.
“It is very likely that Madam Jiang, violent and brutal, and for whom money means everything, hurt my daughter. At that time, Qinghua went back to Duke Xing’s Mansion with a posthumous child of her husband, the Heir of Duke Xing. So she was treated like a treasure by the whole Duke Xing’s family. Even though she had been mentally ill, she was also under well protection.”
“But think it again. Actually, it was very easy for Jiang to do something against my daughter!”
“You should be careful living in this mansion too, and don’t expose your wisdom. I can tell that your Uncle Shao Jing is not what he looks like. I used to underestimate him before, convinced that he was recognized by many people for nothing but his good temper.” Great Elder Princess touched her granddaughter’s cold hands and said with concern.
After losing a daughter, Great Elder Princess could not bear the pain to lose her only granddaughter.
“Don’t worry, grandma. I will be careful!” Shao Wanru nodded and said. Thinking of Uncle Shao Jing’s secret observation on her just now, she knew that she had aroused his suspicion. Now that she was still in Duke Xing’s Mansion, something bad might happen to her, even though her marriage was good for Duke Xing’s Mansion.
What she needed to do now was to keep a low profile.
“Turn to me if you need help. I will provide ways for you. Don’t do anything by yourself.” Great Elder Princess was still worried and reminded her again.
Shao Wanru nodded again and again and agreed with a smile. Seeing her granddaughter’s delicate face full of satisfaction and trust, Great Elder Princess felt sad again.
Shao Wanru walked Great Elder Princess to the mansion gate. After seeing off her grandmother, she took a deep breath and was about to turn around. But she instantly stopped when catching a glance at a figure.
“Who is that?” Shao Wanru asked the steward of the outer courtyard, who was standing in front of her with a smile.
What she saw was a figure in invisible color. It appeared in a flash. She had seen it this morning, so she recognized it at once.
“Fifth Miss, are you referring to Sir Yan?” The butler asked with a smile. He had sharp eyes. Even though it was a figure, he recognized it immediately.
Shao Wanru’s heart skipped a beat. It was indeed Yan Xi from last life. She didn’t expect to see him in Duke Xing’s Mansion. “Was he really a nephew of Madam Jiang?” She frowned slightly.
“Is that Sir Yan? Is he a relative of our mansion?” Shao Wanru asked calmly.
“He is not a relative, but the son of an old friend of the Duke’s. I heard that he had a good relations.h.i.+p with the Duke. He came to the capital for the Imperial Examination, so he lived in our mansion. The Exam is coming in a few days, so Sir Yan may go out for something. However, he rarely goes outside.”
The steward explained to Shao Wanru with a flattering tongue.
“Has he lived here for a period of time?” Shao Wanru asked in surprise.
“For about a month.” the butler said after thinking for a while.
Shao Wanru glanced at the place where Yan Xi had disappeared, and said in a casual way, “Childe Yan seems to be different from the Childe w.a.n.g. He is a serious student.”
“Yes, He is. Childe Yan studies very hard. Even if Childe w.a.n.g invites him to go out for fun, he has never accepted the invitation!” The butler nodded repeatedly. He knew that it was w.a.n.g Shengxue who Shao Wanru referred to.
“w.a.n.g Shengxue was not even qualified to serve Childe Yan. They were not at the same level. It was obvious that Childe Yan was a promising student. He won the first prize in the Province Exam, so he would definitely get a place in the following Imperial Exam. Duke Xing had ordered me to serve him well!”