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Chapter 971 A New-come Playboy in the Capital
“My grandmother said that she would only follow the decision of the Old Madam of your manor. She was not willing to offend the Empress for me. My mother insisted on breaking off the engagement. She said that we must do it even if she had to support me later on!” Luo Xiaowan could not hold back her tears when she thought of how her mother had been punished by her grandmother. If it were not for her, her mother would not have been forced to kneel for four hours by her grandmother.
“The wife of Duke Yangqu was obviously afraid of being punished by the Empress. But in fact, the weak relations.h.i.+p between the family and the Empress has long gone. I’m afraid that she just agreed with the marriage casually and might not even remember this matter now. There is no need for her to report it to the Empress. You can break off the engagement directly!”
Zhang Qilan said grumpily.
The wife of Duke Yangqu was useless while the Old Madam of Marquis Xing’s Mansion was so shrewd that she wouldn’t take the responsibility. In the end, the matter dragged on and on and hadn’t been settled even after so many years. Now the man’s family came to them instead.
Shao Wanru s.h.i.+fted her watery eyes and asked, “That is to say, without the guidance of the Old Madam of our mansion, the family couldn’t see the Empress?”
“Yes, indeed. That family is neither a wealthy nor a n.o.ble family, but an ordinary aristocratic family. Moreover, they left the capital early, so they couldn’t compare with the Duke Yangqu’s Mansion. At that time, because that family was inferior to the Duke Yangqu’s Mansion and the wife of Duke Yangqu’s son felt that the marriage was not bad, so she agreed!”
Zhang Qilan said. She had a good relations.h.i.+p with Luo Xiaowan since their childhood. Since Luo Xiaowan hadn’t appeared in front of others for several years, she went to visit her in private. Thus, she knew a lot about Duke Yangqu’s Mansion.
She became more and more indignant at the unfair treatment to Luo Xiaowan!
Luo Xiaowan was too weak to defend her rights. She was fine under the protection of the wife of Duke Yangqu’s son. But if she married into other n.o.ble families, she might not handle it. So, it would be better for her to marry someone inferior to her. In that case, her family could take care of her. This was also the original intention of the wife of Duke Yangqu’s son.
However, she did not expect that although the family could not compare with Duke Yangqu’s Mansion, it had something to do with the Empress. In the end, the Empress mentioned the marriage and appointed the Old Madam of Duke Xing’s Manor to be the marriage matcher.
“That is to say, as long as the Old Madam of our mansion agrees, she can help you end the engagement without disturbing the Empress?”
Shao Wanru had roughly sorted out the whole story.
“That’s true. But the Old Madam of your mansion is so smart. How could she be willing to do such a thing? The wife of Duke Yangqu’s son had visited her several times. Yet the Old Madam pretended to be sick and only met her briefly. Then she left in a hurry, saying that she had something urgent to deal with. She avoided us again and again, but she had never returned these gifts!”
Zhang Qilan sneered and said, “The older a person becomes, the smarter he will become. She won’t take action before seeing the benefits.”
This matter sounded like an easy one. As an aristocratic family, Duke Yangqu’s mansion could easily refuse the engagement even if the son of the aristocratic family had done nothing wrong.
However, since the Empress was involved in this matter, the matter turned much more complex. It was not because the Empress favored this family, but because the failure of their marriage would bring shame on the Empress.
No matter what, it was the Empress who had brought up this matter. It represented the Empress’s intention. It would be fine if the Empress did not know about this. However, if she knew about it, she would only be accused of lying.
Although the Empress was not the emperor, the crime could be either serious or minor! Obviously, the wife of Duke Yangqu would rather give up her granddaughter’s happiness than offend the Empress. As for the Old Madam, of course, it had nothing to do with her. She would never offend the Empress for Luo Xiaowan.
Even if the Empress did not know it at this time, it was possible that she would know it in the future.
“Is the son of that family in the capital city now?” Shao Wanru thought for a moment and asked.
“Yes. He is here with a few old maids and servant girls, declaring that he will marry Xiaowan and take her away. He has never thought that he is no match for Xiaowan at all.” Zhang Qilan curled her lips. She really didn’t like this family. Previously, she secretly asked her elder brother to check it out. He told her that the man was not a decent one at all. Right after entering the capital, he had visited many wh.o.r.ehouses.
In the next few days, whenever he was free, he would go to enjoy himself at such places.
“Boost the impact of the scandal and break off the engagement!” Shao Wanru had an idea in her mind and said with a smile.
“Make a big deal out of it?” Luo Xiaowan looked excited. “Can I really get rid of this engagement by escalating it?”
She really didn’t want to marry such a man, and she didn’t want her mother to suffer more because of her. If Zhang Qilan hadn’t dragged her here today, she wouldn’t have come.
“Sister Xiaowan, are you afraid that your reputation will be ruined?” Shao Wanru asked.
Zhang Qilan hesitated, and her eyes suddenly flashed twice. She, who used to be the most talkative, fell silent at this time.
“No, I’m not afraid. I fear nothing. My mom said that even if she had to support me, she wouldn’t marry me to someone like that,” Luo Xiaowan said firmly. It was rare for her to be so determined.
She held the handkerchief tightly and tried hard to cheer herself up. No matter what, she would not give up. Her grandmother had punished her mother several times because of her marriage, but her mother managed to endure all of it. What else could she not bear?
“What if she couldn’t get married for the rest of her life?” Her mother had said that it would be better for her to live a single life than to marry someone like that.
With the wife of Duke Yangqu’s son at their back, Luo Xiaowan determinedly made the decision.
“Princess Chen, do you have any idea?” Zhang Qilan asked, “Do you want them to take the initiative to break off the engagement, or be forced to do that?”
This way of breaking off the engagement would only bring the least harm to the woman. In fact, in whatever way, breaking off the engagement would always a little hurt the woman’s reputation. The world was not so tolerant of women. Even though it was the man’s mistake, people would blame the woman.
“Let’s go and have a look first!” Shao Wanru thought for a while and stood up.
“Okay, let’s go now. Just now, my Eldest Brother told me the man’s whereabouts!” Zhang Qilan also pulled Luo Xiaowan to stand up.
Luo Xiaowan bit her lips and nodded.
The tavern was not big and was not in the most prosperous street. However, many people had heard about its name. It was quite famous in the capital city. Some people would choose the tavern even if they had to make a few more turns to come there.
It was because the wine in this tavern was really good. Well, another reason was that the tavern wasn’t located at the busy streets.
It would be safer in the tavern out of the way if he’d like to have some fun with a few prost.i.tutes. After all, it would be quite disappointing when others saw him.
There were many rich playboys in the capital city, but most of them didn’t want others to see them enjoying drinking and jesting with wh.o.r.es.
Some of them had already gotten married and some had to obey the strict rules of their family. Anyway, for various reasons, it was better for them to stay away from the crowd.
Of course, it was not necessary to hide that deep. They just needed to avoid the busiest places. Anyway, this tavern was never a secret place in the capital city.
After Liu Xincheng arrived in the capital, the tavern was the place that he visited the most frequently.
Their family had been in the capital city at the very beginning. After they were released out of the capital city, they had never had a chance to go back to the capital city. But even so, Liu Xincheng would still come to the capital city from time to time. He was actually quite familiar with some romantic places here and had a few good friends with him.
In the capital city, he was beyond his elders’ reach, so he could do whatever he wanted to do with his friends. Each day, they could enjoy themselves to the full by drinking and singing with prost.i.tutes, having a good time.
In fact, Liu Xincheng didn’t want to get married at all. He didn’t want to marry Miss Luo whom he had met three years ago. She looked thin and small, like a little girl. He really didn’t like her, who was not as good-looking as his lovers in the entertainment venues. All the girls there looked quite enchanting with their nice figures.
The Duke Yangqu’s Mansion had delayed their marriage for three years. Yet, he was not in a hurry. Without a legal wife in the house, he could not enjoy his life with any kind of woman. Sometimes, he could take the woman he liked back to the manor. When he liked her, he could keep her a little longer. But if he was a little bored with her, he could simply give her away.
It’s a pity that he couldn’t continue such a leisure life now. When his father went out, he made it clear to him that if he didn’t complete the marriage with the Duke Yangqu’s Mansion, he would have to keep an eye on him in the future and never allow him to live a lavish life as before.
Upon hearing this, Liu Xincheng went to the capital city without delay. He thought that after he entered the capital city and said a few good words, the Duke Yangqu’s Mansion would accept the marriage happily. To his great surprise, he received no reply.
Originally, he didn’t want to get married, but he was displeased by his father’s words and the cavalier att.i.tude of Duke Yangqu’s Mansion.
He should be the person to refuse the marriage. How could such a little girl look down on him?
Liu Xincheng was very unhappy. At this time, he was holding a charming woman in his arms. He drank up the wine in the gla.s.s, put it down heavily, and scolded, “She thinks so highly of herself. Doesn’t she know that? How dare she be so picky? If I don’t marry her, who else will marry such a boring and thin woman?”
“That’s right. If it weren’t for the previous engagement, you would have married another beautiful lady long ago. How could the Duke Yangqu’s Mansion take advantage of you? It’s said that the woman in this mansion is quite incapable. Not only is she not good-looking, but she is also timid. How can such a woman be the hostess?”
Someone said, trying to curry favor with him.
Since Liu Xincheng was the one who invited them and paid the bill, they would say anything to please him.
“If the marriage with her weren’t arranged by the Empress, I wouldn’t have agreed to it!” Liu Xincheng was a foppish young man with a greasy face. He was good-looking, but there were dark circles around his eyes. His face looked pale and swollen. At first glance, one could tell that he was a man of wine and women. No matter how he dressed himself up, he didn’t look like a good person!
At this moment, he pounded the table with his fists and became more and more vigorous.
“Master, how could you like her? Am I the better one?” The woman sitting in his arms teased him with a sweet voice, her soft body leaning against him.
“Of course, it’s you. Why would I fall in love with her? There’s nothing good about her from head to toe. She can never be as sweet and beautiful as you’re!” After saying that, he leaned over and kissed the corner of the beauty’s mouth, his hands gently caressing the beauty’s delicate body.
“Master, you are so annoying!” The woman said in a mellifluous voice. She reached out and pushed him gently. Then she flung an arm around his shoulders, pulling him closer to her. In front of everyone, they flirted and behaved affectionately toward each other, enjoying the loud cheers from the crowd!
In the private room next door, Luo Xiaowan’s face turned ghastly pale. She pressed her hands tightly on the corner of the table and bit her lower lip in shame and anger. Even though she was weak, she could not bear it. How could he mock up a woman who had an engagement with him in that way? Such a be an unreliable fool could never be a good match for her!