T/N: This is a longer chapter. Happy reading.
Chapter 27 – Want to Marry Him
After returning to the courtyard that they rented, neither master nor servant spoke.
An Zi Ran shut himself in the study and did not go out. He was thinking about the conversation with Fu Wu Tian. He was certain that he would not allow An Yu Zhi to marry into the Fu family as a concubine.
In general, the position of a concubine was not high. After marrying, a concubine basically could not leave the house. And they could not attend a lot of events, such as banquets hosted by the imperial family or other influential people. Essentially, they received the title of a wife, but not much benefits.
Although his original motive was to look for a backer for the An family, he was not cold-blooded enough to exchange his sister’s lifetime of happiness for the An family’s prosperity. Since she was now his family, he was more or less responsible for her.
[T/N: Yes, the sound effect was in quotations in the raw.]
The door of the study was being knocked on. Steward Su pushed the door open and entered.
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An Zi Ran looked over. “What happened?”
Steward Su said helplessly, “Young Master, the Young Miss said she has something to say to you. She is just outside in the yard.”
There was no need to ask, they all knew what An Yu Zhi wanted to talk about.
An Zi Ran was silent for a moment. “Let her come in.”
Steward Su sighed and went out to call her in. Not long after, An Yu Zhi’s figure appeared in the entrance to the study. Softly she called out, “Brother.” An Zi Ran let her in.
“You wanted to know the Fu family’s answer?” An Zi Ran took a look at the restless An Yu Zhi. After hearing his words, her small face reddened, just like a red peach. She looked tender and particularly good looking. Indeed, a beautiful child. But he was not happy in his heart.
An Yu Zhi was blushing. It was really hard to tell her the answer. A girl like her running over to inquire about such matters, she must be feeling every embarrassed. If she said anymore he would not be able to answer her anymore.
An Zi Ran looked calm, as if he did not notice her distress, and then said, “Do you really want to marry into the Fu palace?”
“Brother!” An Yu Zhi’s pretty face burned even brighter. It seemed that her elder brother was very straightforward. Her little face was so bashful that if one were to pinch it, water would come out*. But there was a hint of happiness in her eyes.
[*T/N: No, I don’t understand this description either, but she’s essentially really embarrassed.]
“Tell me the answer.” An Zi Ran saw her response and knew what her answer would be, but he still wanted to hear it from her lips.
An Yu Zhi stomped her foot. Her little face was all pinched together. She saw that her brother was indifferent. She felt ashamed for a while, and finally said in a tiny inaudible voice, “Yes… I… I want to marry him…”
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With an expressionless face, An Zi Ran said, “Even if he could only give you the title of a concubine?”
An Yu Zhi stood in a daze.
“I talked to him already, and he said he could only name you his concubine. Even if it’s like this, you’re still willing?” An Zi Ran ignored her sudden pale face. Some things must be put out in the open before it could be solved.
An Yu Zhi’s face was pale and white. She was not a woman without a brain. The gap between a wang fei and a concubine wasn’t just the normal distance (between a main wife and concubine). Once she became a concubine it was almost impossible for her to rise from concubine to wife status*. Not to mention she was still the daughter of a landlord. The difference in position was too large. She had heard many stories like this when listening to the actresses talk.
[*T/N: The word used here is 扶正 which can mean “to set something upright or straight,” “to promote an employee from part-time to full-time (or from deputy to principal)” or in olden times “to raise from concubine to wife status.”
I chose the last meaning since it seems like a literal fit for the story and time period, but I’m actually not sure how the wife and concubine thing works. I thought concubines couldn’t become the main wife, period, unless by imperial decree. This was what I understood from reading Doomed to be Cannon Fodder.
If I choose the first meaning, then I would interpret it as the concubine’s power and status in the family is so low that she wouldn’t be able to set things/matters straight or argue for justice even if she were wronged.]
An Zi Ran said, “If you do not want this, I will not force you. I will make another trip to the Fu palace and reject the marriage.”
Merely the position of a concubine, it would seem that the other side does not want to marry his sister. He was also a man, so he could understand Fu Wu Tian’s thinking. Therefore, he knew that An Yu Zhi would not be happy after she marries into the Fu palace. Although it would impact his future plans, he could still settle for the second best plan*. On the condition that the marriage would be canceled, he could make Fu Wu Tian promise to put the An family under his protection. This was the best way he could think of.
[*T/N: 退而求其次 “to settle for second best/the next best thing”]
However, An Yu Zhi’s reaction stupefied him.
“What are you saying?” An Zi Ran thought he heard wrong.
“I… I’m willing…” An Yu Zhi lowered her head and repeated her response. The section of her neck exposed under her collar had become red. The handkerchief in her hand was twisted to the point of fraying.
An Zi Ran stared at her. “You are certain you want to marry him as his concubine?”
An Yu Zhi was silent for a long time before lifting her head. This time she finally had the courage to look at him directly. Slowly and firmly she nodded. “Brother, I… still want to marry him.”
Steward Su entered, “Young Master, the Young Miss, she…”
He knew that the young master must’ve told the young miss about the answer that they got from the Fu palace. But just now, when the young miss brushed past his shoulder (while leaving the room), he seemed to have seen her face flushed red with a shy expression. She was not sad (like he’d expected). The old man was confused.
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An Zi Ran said lightly, “That’s her own decision.”
Steward Su stood there in a stupor for a long while. Finally he let out a long sigh. For the sake of the An family, this was truly a hardship for the young miss.
[T/N: I think the steward is misunderstanding something… 😓]
A piece of information about the An family was delivered to Fu Wu Tian in less than half a day. The contents were very detailed. Not only did it detail their every move while they were in Jun Zi City, it included their situation in An Yuan County, and also information about their ancestors from eighteen generations back.
[T/N: The last part is just an exaggerated figure of speech. It basically means they found out a lot about the An family.]
If An Zi Ran were to see this detailed report, he would be shocked. To be able to do this much in such a short amount of time, Fu Wu Tian was definitely not some scrub that just returned to the capital.
“Wang ye, this An Zi Ran has quite a lot of nerve,” said Ge Qian An, who was standing at the bottom of the stairs. This was the young man from before (the one that took the bloody body out of the great hall). He has already read through the report. At a glance, he realized An Zi Ran’s purpose for making Fu Wu Tian fulfill the marriage contract. He just wanted to take advantage of wang ye’s status. For a mere landlord, he sure had a lot of guts.
Fu Wu Tian looked at that piece of paper, “Don’t you think he’s amusing?”
Ge Qian An didn’t understand what he was saying.
Fu Wu Tian released the paper and watched it float to the ground. The writing on it was still clearly visible. Calmly, he said, “Will most people forego an IOU that has accumulated for more than ten years? Will they reduce the rent of an entire county without saying anything?”
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Ge Qian An nodded, “To meet gains or losses with equanimity*, direct and efficient**, he is indeed a person of talent. However, does wang ye really want to marry the landlord’s daughter?” He could not guess his (ML’s) thought, and thus wrinkled his brow.
[*T/N: 拿得起放得下 lit. can pick it up or put it down (idiom)]
[**T/N: 干脆利落 gan cui li luo (of speech or actions) direct and efficient]
“(My grandfather was) even willing to gift the mandarin duck pendant to the An family, what reason do I have to refuse?” Fu Wu Tian looked up at the clear sky. The white clouds seemed to form a person’s face. His black eyes flashed. Then he turned his head slowly towards the left corridor. “Am I right, grandfather?”
Without knowing when, suddenly the figure of Fu lao wang ye was standing there in the hallway.
Ge Qian An startled. He completely did not notice. He hurried saluted him, “Lao wang ye!”
With his hands behind his back, Fu lao wang ye just stood there looking at them. His expression was almost the same as his grandson, calm and cold. Hearing the words of his grandson, he responded, “Since you know that grandfather attaches great importance to this marriage with the An family, then take the An family’s girl as your wang fei. Do you have a problem?”
Fu Wu Tian stared at him for a long time. Suddenly, he said, “Of course, there is no problem.”
Fu lao wang ye nodded his head with satisfaction. Then he turned and left.
Ge Qian An let out a breath of relief. Fu lao wang ye’s illness really was unpredictable. Suddenly recovering memories at this critical moment. It seemed that even the heavens were assisting the An family. Only that, wang ye changed his tune without saying anything, and it really made him surprised. He really did not know how wang ye’s brain worked.
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