T/N: This is a holiday update. I hope y’all are having a wonderful day!
Chapter 26 – Concubine
When those words were spoken the entire hall went quiet.
An Zi Ran took a deep breath and gently pulled his hands away. When he could not pull them away, he said patiently, “Lao wang ye, you misidentified, I am not your grandson.”
[T/N: I’m changing “old Fu wang ye” to “Fu lao wang ye” because I feel like the word “old” or “lao” here is meant to be a part of his title 老王爷 and not just a descriptor of his age. It was starting to feel weird translating 傅老王爷 as “old Fu wang ye.” And “Fu lao wang ye” is more compliant with the original order in Chinese.]
Your real grandson is watching you blanking from the side, An Zi Ran thought.
Fu lao wang ye did not listen to him. Instead, he grinned and said in a dejected manner, “Grandson, is it that you dislike your grandfather? Speak, grandfather will change.”
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An Zi Ran suddenly felt a headache coming on. It looked like there was something wrong with Fu lao wang ye’s head. He even mistook someone else for his own grandson. Could An Zi Ran still count on him to remember something from ten years ago? No wonder Fu Wu Tian had his grandfather brought over so readily. He (ML) must’ve calculated that Fu lao wang ye wouldn’t be able to say anything (about the marriage contract). He (MC) did not think Fu lao wang ye was pretending, because it was not necessary.
An Zi Ran looked at Fu Wu Tian and said, “Wang ye, can Fu lao wang ye remember this matter?”
While staring at his face, Fu Wu Tian said, “He had a serious illness six years ago. When he recovered and woke up, he became like this. Sometimes his memory is there, and sometimes it is not. He often misidentified people.”
An Zi Ran immediately reached this conclusion. This condition could also be called forgetfulness. The elderly are the most likely to get this disease. It is almost incurable. It was entirely up to luck, whether he could remember that agreement from ten years ago.
Fu Wu Tian looked at him calmly*. His eyes flashed. He wanted to see how An Zi Ran planned to prove his claim.
[*T/N: 好整以暇 “to be calm and unruffled in the midst of chaos or at a busy time” (idiom). MTL translated this as “awkwardness”… That’s like the polar opposite meaning, ah! o(╯□╰)o]
An Zi Ran thought for a bit, and still decided to give it a try, so he took the jade pendant over and presented it to Fu lao wang ye. “Lao wang ye, do you still remember this jade pendant? Ten years ago, you gave this to my grandfather, as a token of promise to make our two families in-laws. My grandfather is your soul mate (close friend). You were once sworn brothers. Do you remember?”
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Fu lao wang ye tilted his head for a moment as he looked. Suddenly, with pleasant surprise, he grabbed onto the jade pendant, and said with a definitive voice, “I remember!”
An Zi Ran felt a spark of delight.
Fu lao wang ye then said, “This is Dan Xue’s jade pendant. How come there is only one?”
An Zi Ran’s expression froze.
Who was Dan Xue?
Fu Wu Tian saw the distress on his face. It was like seeing something interesting. His eyes lit up, “Dan Xue is my* grandmother.”
[*T/N: He addressed himself as 本王 ben wang, which means “this prince.” In ancient China there are many ways to address oneself and other people. Depending on which pronoun or noun is used it denotes status and/or one’s attitude towards the person being addressed. I know this from watching copious amounts of Chinese drama, but I am not familiar with all the varied forms of address out there, only the more common ones.]
Looking at the way Fu lao wang ye was right now, it was likely that he did not remember Steward Su either. It’s probably hopeless to expect him to remember the agreement from ten years ago. But it’s impossible for him (MC) to leave like this. Just getting here was hard enough. He wasn’t going to return home empty handed.
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Steward Su once told him, Fu lao wang ye was a very outspoken and straightforward person. He was talented, but he was not like literati, instead having the character of a war general. He was not the type to say one thing and do another. He was also a loyal person. His insistence on tying the two families together as in-laws should not be an impulsive act. Originally, he thought that even if Fu Wu Tian did not acknowledge the marriage contract, he could still depend on Fu lao wang ye to achieve his objective, but he did not account for this point.
The plan was completely disrupted. It was going to be difficult to go on from here.
An Zi Ran frowned. He glimpsed the jade pendant that Fu lao wang ye loved too much to put down*, and a light bulb flashed in his head. Slightly distracted; he’d been going around in circles. How did he not see such an obvious point?
[*T/N: 爱不释手 “to love something too much to part with it” (idiom)]
“Wang ye, actually you already knew about the marriage contract, did you not?”
Fu Wu Tian saw his (MC’s) sudden confidence in attitude. The gaze that looked at him (ML) was particularly steady. It was completely different from the shifty way that other people looked at him*. Very refreshing. “Yes.”
[*T/N: As in other people are too nervous to look the ML in the eyes, so their gazes always shift when talking to him.]
An Zi Ran’s breathing deepened. He should have guessed this earlier.
Fu lao wang ye only got sick six years ago. There was still four years before that. He couldn’t have hidden this matter from his grandson all that time. And when someone returns home they were sure to mention something like a marriage contract with their family. Fu lao wang ye was someone who took his words seriously, and definitely would not conceal the truth.
“Wang ye should be able to guess my motive for coming here. The promise token (jade pendant) is impossible to fake. I ask that wang ye fulfill the agreement made between lao wang ye and my grandfather.” An Zi Ran found that when dealing with people like Fu Wu Tian, if he over thought things too much, the easier it was for the other person to play him.
Fu Wu Tian stared at him with an unchanging expression. “How do you want me to fulfill it?”
An Zi Ran said, “Marry my sister.”
The An family was but the landlord of a small county, if Fu Wu Tian were to get married again in the future, then his sister’s status would be laughed at as nothing more than the daughter of a businessman. Thus, only the status of wang fei will keep her from being bullied. What he can do for An Yu Zhi was only this.
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Silence reigned in the hall.
Steward Su looked nervously between the two of them. Although he also wished that the third miss can marry the wang ye as his wang fei, he still felt that it was just a fantastical daydream. Just looking at the gap in status between the two families, how could the An family hope to climb so high up.
Fu Wu Tian said calmly, “If your sister wants to marry into the Fu family, she can only be a concubine.”
An Zi Ran’s expression became uncertain. Although he (ML) did not say it clearly, he (MC) understood the underlying meaning. The imperial family cannot have a businessman’s daughter as a wang fei. Otherwise, wouldn’t they be laughed at by the world? Although An Zi Ran thought it was ridiculous, the ancients seemed to be very concerned with face*.
[*T/N: The Chinese concept of face is like a mix of reputation, prestige, and respect.]
Fu Wu Tian’s words illustrated his attitude. An Zi Ran knew that even if he persisted it would not yield results. It would’ve still been okay if Fu lao wang ye had not gotten sick. Luck was not in accordance to him.
An Zi Ran retrieved the jade pendant from Fu lao wang ye. Then with Steward Su, he left the Fu palace.
T/N: Shout Outs!!!
A special thank you to ElizabethLor and alix682 over on ko-fi. Thank you so much for supplying me the caffeine (and cake!) I needed when I was up translating this at the wee hours of the night. (๑╹o╹)φ
Current Coffee Counter: 3/9 (Extra update when the counter maxes out!)
A super big thank you to Carmen Hall and Michelle ossiander for pledging to me on patreon. Woot! I didn’t think I would be getting patrons so quickly. You really surprised me and put a big smile on my face. o(^∀^)o
Once again, thank you to all the aforementioned people, you really made my day and you were a big motivator for kicking my butt into gear to pump out this special chapter for you all. (۶•̀ᴗ•́)۶ As this update is outside of my regular updating schedule, there will be another update tomorrow, on Monday, as per usual.