Chapter 51 – Plan Revival
Next day. Afternoon.
An Xue Yan returned home and found both of her parents in the main hall. Furthermore, the expressions on their faces were very ugly. She thought that they had found out about her sneaking out of the house, and was thinking of sneaking back to her room when she realized that they didn’t notice her at all.
Translations by www.vmnovels.com
She knew that recently her parents have been fretting over the son of her uncle, An Zi Ran. As for her own personal feelings towards An Zi Ran, she disdained him. He was ugly and fat. If it weren’t for the fact that consanguinity couldn’t be severed, she wouldn’t even want to recognize him as a relative. An Xue Yan didn’t want her parents to take their anger out on her, so she decided to take another route back to her room.
As she was turning around the corner of the hallway, she happened to encounter An Yao Zong who was acting sneakily.
An Chang De and his wife gave Yao Zong that name because they hoped that someday their eldest son would accomplish something great. They wanted him to pass the imperial exams like his father and bring honor to his ancestors. Instead, not only did he not like to study, but he also liked to gamble.
No doubt the allowance that he got every month was all lost to the gambling houses. He even racked up quite the debt behind his parents’ backs. Only An Xue Yan knew about this, and the only reason she didn’t say anything was because he bribed her.
“(Older) Brother, are you going out to drink and play around* again?” An Xue Yan saw that he was gaudily dressed and immediately guessed his intentions. It was already getting late. Going out at this time meant that he was definitely going to be hanging out with his scoundrel friends at brothels and such.
[*T/N: 花天酒地 is an idiom meaning “to spend one’s time in drinking and (sexual) pleasure”]
An Yao Zong was hiding from his parents, so when he saw that it was his sister, he breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, it’s you, Xue Yan. You scared me. I just told father and mother that I would be burning the midnight oil (studying), and to not bother me. You absolutely must not tell father and mother that I am not home.”
An Xue Yan opened up her palm and extended her hand towards her brother. “Sure. This time I want one tael.”
An Yao Zong swatter aside her hand. “Don’t try this with me again. You snuck out today too. I have yet to report you to father and mother, and you dare to ask me for a silencing fee. Today, you’re out of luck.”
An Xue Yan thought about the consequences of her parents finding out and knew that they would ground her at home, so she did not persist. Instead, she said with enthusiasm, “Brother, guess what I heard today while I was outside. I bet you can’t guess what it is.”
“What else can it be? It must have something to do with An Zi Ran.” An Yao Zong gave her a blank look.
An Xue Yan stared. “How did you know?”
An Yao Zong said, “Just now father and mother were talking about it. I heard that An Zi Ran got married to a man.” His eyes were contemptuous and his tone was mocking.
A man marrying himself off to another man. His status must be some lowly official. And the man could only be a concubine. Their status was lower than that of a prostitute. When people spoke of them, there was usually disdain in their eyes. But An Yao Zong did not know that An Zi Ran had married Fu Wu Tian, and that his status was higher than that of some big landlord by several hundred times.
“Is that all?”
An Xue Yan blinked her eyes.
An Yao Zong did not bother to hear what else she had to say. With an impatient expression he said, “I have a previous engagement. If there is nothing else, then I will go first.”
An Xue Yan said with a smile, “Brother, yours is already old news. Father and mother are no longer talking about An Zi Ran’s marriage to some official from Jun Zi City. But do you know the identity of the man that An Zi Ran married?”
An Yao Zong heard schadenfreude in her words, and his eyes brightened. “(Little) Sister, are you saying that An Zi Ran did not marry some official?”
An Xue Yan nodded proudly. “Of course. How can a man like him nab an official? Although he did not marry the other person as a concubine, I heard the marriage partner is a businessman.”
“Is that true?” An Yao Zong was excited.
An Xue Yan enunciated each word individually. “It! Is! Absolutely! True!”
An Yao Zong slammed his fist into his palm with a thud. He hurriedly changed directions and headed for the great hall instead. An Xue Yan saw his sudden change in attitude. He no longer wanted to go out. She quickly gave chase.
“Brother, didn’t you have a previous engagement?”
“Your brother, I, just thought of a good plan. Not only would it eat up our parents’ time so that they can no longer hover over me, but we might not have to worry about spending money in the future.” An Yao Zong’s head revolved around this thought. He was truly short of money. His debt must be paid off within a stipulated period of time, and if he sold the An family’s land there would be money, so he was supportive of the idea of engulfing the An family property.
An Xue Yan was very curious about the plan he spoke of, so she followed.
An Change De was just drinking some tea to moisten his throat when he choked and sprayed the tea out everywhere. But he couldn’t be bothered to wipe it. He stared at his eldest son with rounded eyes. His expression was very comical.
The first one to react was Wu Zhi. She was so excited she stood up and walked up to An Yao Zong. She grabbed his arm and asked, “Yao Zong, is what you said true?”
The strength of her grasp was starting to hurt An Yao Zong, but he understood her feelings. “Of course it is true. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Sister. This is what she heard when she was outside.”
Inadvertently, he had thrown his sister under the bus.
When An Xue Yan heard her brother say so, she knew that she was in trouble, but she wasn’t fast enough to prevent him from saying it. She turned around and thought of making a run for it when her mother, like a hunting lion, had already shouted out her name. But the following words made her halt in a strange way. It would seem that her mother was not going to reprimand at her for sneaking out of the house.
Although she couldn’t quite understand the matter, she felt that she had done something meritorious.
An Chang De had already returned to his senses.
In the face of her parents’ questions, An Xue Yan recounted the tale of how she came upon the information. At the end, she still had to swear that what she’d said was true.
An Change De was so excited that his face was red as he slammed his hands against the table. Although his hands turned red from the force, he did not feel the pain. Ever since An Zi Ran took his younger brother and sister to Jun Zi City, he was so worried that An Yu Zhi would marry some big shot official from there. But now he learnt that it was only some businessman. Then there was nothing to worry about.
“Chang De, we must quickly tell this news to Prefectural Magistrate Jiang.” Wu Zhi’s face shone. The plans that they had to put on hold due to unclear circumstances could finally be re-implemented. She had already had enough days of financial hardship.
“Yes, you’re right. But just in case, we still have to get someone to verify this information, and make sure it is not a rumor,” An Chang De said, feeling a little uncertain.
An Xue Yan didn’t understand what they were saying. “Father, Mother, what are you talking about?”
The couple realized that their daughter still didn’t know what they were planning. This matter could not be known by too many people, so they sent her back to her room, but had their son stay behind.
An Xue Yan was afraid that her mother would realize that she had snuck out and punish her, so she did not dare to ask further.
This information was no longer a secret within the An family. In addition, some people were deliberately spreading the news out. An Chang De and his wife almost did not have to put in any effort to find out, and it seemed that the facts were not that different from what their daughter had said. An Zi Ran actually married a businessman. They couldn’t wait to fly to Yong Province and tell Prefectural Magistrate Jiang the news.
The next day, they reluctantly hired the only horse keeper in An Yuan County.
The horse keeper had a very fast horse. It took only two days to go back and forth from An Yuan County to Yong Province. But they didn’t even need two days. The carriage was often used to help people deliver stuff around, so the horse keeper was familiar enough with the roads to take shortcuts and shorten the distance.
The horse keeper felt that their demands were too high though. After all, the horses needed to rest, so they had to pay extra.
When An Chang De and his wife thought about their plans coming to fruition and them sitting on the An family property, they didn’t even nitpick about paying extra fees and handed over the money without fuss. The horse keeper was surprised for a while. This couple was rather infamous. Everyone in An Yuan County knew about them.
Their every move made throughout the day was recorded and placed onto An Zi Ran’s desk by the day’s end.
An Zi Ran did not relax his surveillance of the An Chang De couple just because he left An Yuan County. On the contrary, he had the man named Xiao Ye continue to monitor them.
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Yesterday, Xiao Ye reported to An Zi Ran about everything that happened during his time away. There were no superfluous words used and only the key points were delivered. This made An Zi Ran felt that he was a person of talent.
The paper in his hand was suddenly taken away.
When An Zi Ran looked up, he saw that it was Fu Wu Tian. He had no idea when the man had appeared in his study. He couldn’t help but frown. He didn’t even notice it, but he didn’t think his own alertness had dropped. The only possibility was that Fu Wu Tian was even more skilled than he’d imagined. Still more mysteries.
“Return it to me.”
An Zi Ran reached out and snatched the paper back. He didn’t let Fu Wu Tian see the embarrassment from him having to monitor his own uncle. He believed that Fu Wu Tian had already investigated this matter.
Fu Wu Tian placed one hand on the edge of the chair and there was a feeling of shrouding An Zi Ran under his body. He sincerely said, “This person is not bad.”
An Zi Ran gave him a look. “Yes, not bad.”
When the matter at hand comes to an end, he planned to interview this person. If his background checked out okay, then he wanted to have this person continue to aid him in important matters.
“Wang fei, you actually said that another man is not bad, you’re making this prince jealous.” Fu Wu Tian suddenly leaned down, his body pressing against the front of the other’s body. His exhaled breath just so happened to brush the other’s neck. That patch of skin suddenly became pink at a rate visible to the naked eye.
An Zi Ran silently gave him a look. He refused to discuss this stupid topic.
Fu Wu Tian almost laughed at him.
Wang fei was getting cuter and cuter.
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