Chapter 29 – A Servant’s Quality
When An Zi Ran arrived at the Fu palace, it was Steward Li that came out to invite him inside.
Seeing him, Steward Li’s entire face scrunched up with a smile. “An gong zi came early. Our wang ye is still practicing in the yard. It will take a while before he is done.”
An Zi Ran noticed that his expression was laughing. There was not a speck of deference in his eyes. But he did not mind. He was also not surprised by the servant’s words. He had mentally prepared himself when he received the invitation card.
The arrival of An Zi Ran set off a small wave in the Fu palace.
The purpose of their arrival from two days ago had already spread throughout the palace. Before that, it was very rare to know that the Fu palace had a marriage contract with the An family. Only Fu lao wang ye and Fu Wu Tian knew about it.
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But since Fu lao wang ye’s illness, the only person in the entire Fu palace that knew of this matter was Fu Wu Tian. But because he had been away at the border station all this time, and he did not put the matter of the marriage contract in his heart, even his men did not know about it. So when the news spread out, one could just imagine the shock.
When An Zi Ran hadn’t arrived yet, someone had started to inquire about the news.
When they heard that the other party was the daughter of a landlord they could not believe it.
[T/N: The “they” refers to the servants of the Fu palace.]
In all of their eyes, their wang ye’s identity was very noble. Someone who could be their wang fei, at the very least must be the daughter of some high official. How could a landlord’s daughter measure up? No one was optimistic about this kind of marriage. They thought that their wang ye was definitely not willing to marry that woman. So when they heard that wang ye was only going to give the woman the status of a concubine, they looked upon her even more scornfully.
[T/N: Even though they haven’t even laid eyes on her yet. Aiya, these servants…]
Steward Li was representative of one of these people.
The last time, because of the lao wang fei’s jade pendant, he didn’t dare look at the other party before ushering him inside. As a result, he was almost punished by the wang ye. Now, knowing that wang ye did not like the people of An family, he was the first to express his dissatisfaction.
[T/N: 老王妃 lao wang fei: lit. old princess, referring to ML’s grandmother]
Steward Li asked An Zi Ran to wait in the hall. He did not immediately send someone to inform wang ye. Instead, he had a servant pour a cup of semi-cold tea for An Zi Ran.
An Zi Ran picked up the tea cup, and then lowered it.
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Steward Li looked in his eyes and smiled. “Why isn’t An gong zi drinking the tea? Is the Fu palace’s tea not to your taste? Then, my apologies. An gong zi may be used to drinking inferior tea. Unfortunately, the Fu palace’s tea is all top-notch tea. We really don’t have substandard tea leaves, so please put up with it.”
Steward Su heard this sentence and almost jumped out, but he was stopped by An Zi Ran in a timely manner.
An Zi Ran finally determined that Steward Li was targeting him. Such blatant sarcasm. Could it be that Fu Wu Tian instigated this? Was this his way of flaunting his power? Although he could not be very sure, he still could not casually let a servant give him cheek.
“I* certainly have never seen a person entertain their guest with cold tea. It makes one doubt the quality of the servants in the Fu palace.”
[*T/N: An Zi Ran refers to himself as 本公子 ben gong zi here, which roughly translates to “this son of a well-to-do family.” This is a slightly elevated and arrogant way of referring to oneself. He’s usually neutral when he addresses himself, but here he is kind of putting on airs to counter Steward Li’s rudeness towards him.]
Steward Li’s face froze.
He was just preparing a few more words of sarcasm when a steady stream of footsteps came in.
Fu Wu Tian’s tall figure appeared at the door.
Steward Li turned around and his three souls and seven skeletons* were all frightened away. His heart plummeted as he wondered if wang ye heard the words he had said just now. His mind descended into sudden disarray**.
[*T/N: 三魂七魄 san hun qi po: “three immortal souls and seven mortal forms in Daoism”]
[**T/N: The original sentence here was 顿时七上八下 lit. suddenly at sixes and sevens/perturbed state of mind/in a mess]
An Zi Ran’s eyes fell on Fu Wu Tian. His face was not easy to read. He wanted to gleam from his expression whether or not he was the instigator behind this. But like his first impression of Fu Wu Tian, this was a man that was hard to understand. The deep expression did not tell him whether he had heard their conversation.
Fu Wu Tian walked in. He threw a glance at the stiffened Steward Li. “I don’t ever want to hear the guests questioning the quality of Fu palace’s servants. Go and bring back two cups of hot tea.”
Steward Li immediately rushed out of the hall.
An Zi Ran looked suspiciously at Fu Wu Tian. Was it really not his doing? The idea flashed to the forefront of his mind but with a turn of the head it was immediately denied. With Fu Wu Tian’s status, there was absolutely no need to make things difficult for him.
“Are you done looking?”
Fu Wu Tian’s steady and solid voice evoked his attention.
An Zi Ran withdrew his gaze. He always felt that Fu Wu Tian’s words carried a trace of ridicule, but looking at him with his serious expression, that did not seem to be the case either, so An Zi Ran settled the matter with the thought that he probably heard wrong.
After a while, Steward Li really did bring back two cups of hot tea. That cup of tea that had been cooled off was taken away by him.
An Zi Ran proactively brought up the topic, “Wang ye, about the marriage between our families, the An family will not accept this talk of concubine. That year, the agreement that was made between Fu lao wang ye and my grandfather, it was for Yu Zhi to be your wang fei. This is the promise that Fu lao wang ye made to my grandfather!” He specifically enunciated the word ‘promise.’
Fu Wu Tian looked at him. The boy in front of him was not as fat as described in the data. There was some baby fat on the cheeks. The five features were not very prominent, but his eyes were very clear. The staunchness conveyed by his eyes when he was unwilling to concede was amazing to behold.
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When he did not reply right away, An Zi Ran did not panic. He had already practiced several scenarios in his mind. He was just waiting for him to refute, to express unwillingness, but Fu Wu Tian’s next words stunned him.
“Then, in accordance to you, I will marry your sister as my wang fei.”
An Zi Ran looked at him without blinking.
Fu Wu Tian looked back at him.
Steward Su could not help but cough.
An Zi Ran returned to his senses. In his subconscious mind, he overdid it. “Since wang ye is this frank and straightforward, let us talk directly about the marriage arrangements, and set a date…”
Fu Wu Tian did not refute his words.
The two talked very pleasantly!
After two hours, An Zi Ran and Steward Su left the Fu palace. Steward Su had a face full of smiles. They passed by Ge Qian An at the door. Ge Qian An glanced back at them. Then, just as he walked up the steps, Fu Wu Tian came out. He was just about to speak, but then Fu Wu Tian dropped a sentence that made him stiffen and then turn to the corridor next to him.
“Next time, do not act on your own initiative*.”
[*T/N: 自作主张 to think for oneself and act accordingly (idiom); to act on one’s own initiative. This is usually used in the negative sense when a person is scolding someone else. Often times it is a superior saying this to a subordinate when the subordinate thinks he or she is being smart, but ends up acting out of line and causing trouble for the superior.]
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