Chapter 36.1 – Hoodwinked
Three days passed in the blink of an eye.
Tomorrow was the day of the big wedding. The An family was full of cheer. Even Steward Su was no longer worried. The serious old face revealed a smile as brilliant as a blooming flower.
Only An Zi Ran still felt that something was wrong. Thinking back on the conversation that day, Fu Wu Tian did indeed agree to find someone to replace the bride in order to maintain the reputation of the Fu palace. An Zi Ran’s proposal to let An Chang De’s daughter be the replacement bride was refused, because Fu Wu Tian said he already had a person in mind. In theory, An Zi Ran should be relieved. Until Ge Qian An comes calling…
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Ge Qian An was ordered to send over the wedding attire plus two other big boxes.
One box was full of clothes, the colors were relatively light and bright, and moreover, they were all menswear. The other box was full of some silk satin, the fabric was soft and silky, very expensive. This was usually a tribute – as in a gift for the emperor – but now it appeared here.
“What is the intention of this?” An Zi Ran looked at Ge Qian An.
Ge Qian An’s face was unchanged. “By the order of wang ye, the wedding apparel for the day of the wedding is to be sent to An gong zi. This is what wang ye personally ordered. If An gong zi has looked over it and have no problems, then I will report back.”
It was a big problem!
When An Zi Ran saw the style of the wedding attire, he was very glad that he had the foresight to dismiss the servants first, because what was about to happen next wasn’t going to be pretty. He had a very deep question and he needed Ge Qian An to give him an explanation.
An Zi Ran tried to ask in a calm tone, “Why does the wedding attire look like it was made for a man to wear?”
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It wasn’t “look like” it was “exactly like.”
Ge Qian An’s mouth twitched slightly and then quickly recovered into his expressionless face. He said, “Wang ye commanded that this be given to An gong zi.” It was not just him who had this doubt.
“Excuse me for being direct, but why is it for me?”
“Wang ye said, tomorrow the person who will be marrying in place of the bride is you, An gong zi. This was by your own consent.”
An Zi Ran only now discovered that he was hoodwinked by Fu Wu Tian. The marriage candidate he had in mind was actually An Zi Ran. No wonder he refused to say whom he had in mind. And An Zi Ran was still stupid enough to say that he would cooperate. Fu Wu Tian deliberately sent the wedding attire over the day before the wedding. This was to ensure that he would not have time to find another replacement.
“Is there a mistake? I didn’t…”
Ge Qian An interrupted his words, “If An gong zi has any questions you can go ask wang ye. I still have to go back and report on the completion of my task. I will take my leave now.” After that, he turned around and walked away.
Steward Su was shocked silly.
An Zi Ran looked silently at the red wedding apparel on the table. The clothing was very well customized. It can be seen that every stitch was done by the hand of an expert. The pattern embroidered with gold thread was very unique. Not too ostentatious or rich. It was really overseer by Fu Wu Tian. He very carefully took care of the man that was to wear this wedding attire. It said he will not let people look down on the wearer of these clothes.
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“Young Master…” Steward Su looked at him with a face that was on the verge of breaking down. His eyes carried feelings of lament and distress. He, who did not know the inside story, thought that An Zi Ran promised to marry Fu Wu Tian for the sake of the An family. His heart was suddenly full of guilt. The young master was willing to sacrifice himself for them, how could he not feel heartache!
The corner of An Zi Ran’s mouth gently tugged downwards. He wanted to explain, but then he thought better of it and gave up the idea.
All this time, Steward Su have been worrying over the An family. Speaking up now would only add to his troubles.
An Zi Ran did not speak and Steward Su took that for tacit agreement. Suddenly he burst into tears. “What a sin! For the sake of the An family, the young master has to sacrifice himself. When this old slave* dies will this old slave still have the face to see the old master. This old slave has let down the old master.”
[*T/N: In substitute of the pronoun “I” Steward Su uses the phrase “old slave” here to refer to himself because he feels very self-deprecating or unworthy.]
An Zi Ran: “…”
He even brought out the “old slave” pronoun.
In the afternoon, An Zi Ran went to Fu palace to look for Fu Wu Tian, but Steward Li told him that Fu Wu Tian had entered the (emperor’s) palace. He might not come back until the evening. Although he suspected that Fu Wu Tian might have deliberately not seen him, there was no way for him to enter the palace. He thought about waiting for another time to visit at night, but before he even had time to take action, Fu Wu Tian came over personally…
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