Who Cares – Chapter 5
Chapter 5 Old Friend
After successfully persuading her mother not to rush finding husband for her, Guan Suyi really spent a few days leisurely. That day, she was sitting in the warm pavilion practicing calligraphy, the maid Minglan came in, holding a cotton cloak, “Miss, the carriage is ready to set off, madam is waiting for you at the front hall.”
Because Emperor Sheng Yuan especially admired Confucianism, he built a Confucian Temple in Minde Mountain in the southern suburbs, people below do what people above do, so these days people who went to worship Confucius were endless. As the masters of the Confucian school, of course, Old Master Guan and Father Guan couldn’t be left behind. They had ordered Zhong shi to cook lamb meat for the sacrifice. To showed their sincerity, the two people already carried the lantern and went out at yinshi (3-5am), preparing to climb the mountain step by step, leaving the mother and daughter behind to ride in the carriage.
Guan Suyi put on the big cloak and walked into the fluttering snowflakes. Although her feet at ease, her thoughts kept surging. Only with a small change, everything seems to be different. That day, her grandfather was not so angry that he fell sick in bed, nor was he ridiculed and teased because of his awkward speech, nor even lost his reputation. Now he was still a leader of the Confucian school, and he was also admired as literary giant. Her father didn’t have to wait by the bedside every day, and eventually got the nickname ‘Turtle with head shrunk’, and since then he was ashamed and unable to show his face.
Now they used literature to make friends and made good connections, even if they didn’t become officials they could still live a stable life.
Remembering her grandfather in the previous life holding his sick body to come to Marquis Zhenbei Mansion to seek justice for her, but he was so angry that he fainted; Remembering that her parents were resolutely unwilling to believe in the Zhao family’s slander, they were so desperate that they wanted to let her divorce and almost expelled from the clan; Remembering that her maternal grandparents had come to the other people’s house to take her back to their hometown and then were hurled with verbal abuse, Guan Suyi’s eyes were full of tears.
In this life, the humiliation and torture that she shouldn’t have to bear had probably gone away. Thinking of this, she quickly blinked away the tears in her eyes and walked towards the smiling Zhong shi who was standing in the corridor.
The mother and daughter got on the wupeng carriage and drove slowly towards Minde Mountain. Although the heavy snow was still falling, due to Emperor Sheng Yuan’s several homages to Confucius, the road had long been flattened by the passing armored horses. There were also labors who cleaned it every two hours, so it was not difficult to travel. At the foot of the mountain, the carriage slowly stopped by the side of the road, there seemed to be a little girl crying outside.
“What’s the matter?” Zhong shi asked through the bamboo curtain.
“Madam, don’t know whose carriage broke down, now it stuck in the middle of the road. The young lady of that family is crying with cold. It’s really pitiful.” The coachmen said with pity.
Zhong shi opened the bamboo curtain for a moment. She saw a well-used wupeng carriage parked in front of her, the coachmen meandering around looking anxious, seemed to be at his wit’s end. The master was afraid to get out of the carriage for fear of freezing, but the cries of grievances came from time to time, which was indeed heartbreaking.
Zhong shi was infected by her father-in-law and husband, and always used to the words “Don’t think that bad thing are small and do nothing, don’t think that good things are small and don’t do it”, and then said, “Li Wen, go and help them see if the carriage can be repaired. Tao Hong, you go ask, if all are womenfolk in the carriage, please invite them to ride together.”
At this time, men and women were not as strict as later generations. It was not uncommon for men and women to ride in a carriage. That’s why Zhong shi asked this question. Guan Suyi knocked her chin on her mother’s shoulder and looked across the gap between the bamboo curtains. She couldn’t help but frown. She always felt that she had seen the coachman somewhere, he really looked familiar.
Tao Hong, Zhong shi‘s maid, ran over, said a few more words, and then a luxuriously dressed middle-aged woman came down with a twelve or thirteen-year-old girl. The little girl has bright eyes and white teeth, pink face and cheeks, two strings of teardrops hanging from the corners of her reddish eyes.
Zhong shi felt affectionate at first glance, and hurriedly lifted the curtain of the carriage to call them, “Look at how this little face is frozen, come up and warm it up!” She never noticed her daughter’s complexion became pale instantly.
It was strange that the coachman seemed so familiar, it turned out to be an old friend. In half a breath, Guan Suyi had already restrained her abnormality, and calmly watched the two staggering people.
The middle-aged woman and the little girl climbed into the carriage supported by Tao Hong, first saluted to Zhong shi, and then looked at Guan Suyi, both eyes radiating amazing light. They were all related to the Marquis Zhenbei Mansion, which Guan Suyi avoided. One was Ye Zhen’s mother, Liu shi, and the other was her daughter, Zhao Chunxi.
Even after secretly observing Guan Suyi many times, at close range, Liu shi was still captured by her dignified, restrained yet refined appearance. If it changed to a man who came in, afraid he would lose his soul at this moment. No wonder His Majesty lifted Guan’s family so high, it was to build momentum for her entering the palace. Such a stunner, really couldn’t let her in, otherwise her daughter would have no place to stand.
Thinking like this, Liu shi and Zhao Chunxi exchanged glances secretly, and then pretended to be grateful and approached Zhong shi.
Guan Suyi had become indifferent towards everything from her previous life, so in this life, she would naturally not be disturbed by the old people and the old things. She stretched out her hand, poured two cups of hot tea slowly, and softly whispered , “Please drink.” All of them had already come up, and she wouldn’t push people for no reason.
The girl wore the most simple and pure blue dress. The wide sleeves were slightly raised to reveal half of the slender, snow-white wrists. There were no gold, silver or jade ornaments on them, but they were gorgeous enough. This gorgeousness infiltrated the skin and flesh into the blood and bone, like tender peach fragrant apricot, shocking the heart and soul. No wonder people said ‘beauty is in the bones, not in the flesh’, this was the truth. On top of that her clear and mellow voice inherently contained a hint of tenderness and honey. It was fine when she speaks normally, but when she deliberately lowered her softness as she does now, it was hard to resist even for women like Liu shi and Zhao Chunxi. The two touched their numb ear, and then raised their tea cups to express thanks, but a sharp glow appeared in their eyes as they sipped.
Guan Suyi had already noticed abnormalities in their speech and behavior, and could not help but secretly speculate about their intentions. With the power of Marquis Zhenbei Mansion, how could they let theiryoung lady ride in the wupeng carriage exclusively for the common people? She remembered that Zhao Chunxi had a carriage decorated with gold powder and vermilion lacquer, which was especially ostentatious when she parade around the town. Unlike now, actually said that her surname was Zhao and never mentioned the word ‘Marquis Zhenbei’, which seemed to have deliberately hidden her identity. What does she want to do?
Guan Suyi was curious and tried to deal with Zhao Chunxi, which seemed naive, but when she was about to inquire the truth, they had arrived at the Confucian Temple without realizing it. A man with a long stature and noble temperament has been informed by his servant, standing by the gate with an umbrella waiting, his face full of concern. Seeing the carriage slowly stopped, he stepped forward to help his daughter and mother-in-law, and finally thanked Zhong shi through the curtain of the carriage.
Seeing the man has incomparable handsome face, Zhong shi had a good impression of him, continuously said it was not a trouble, you’re most welcome, and so on. Guan Suyi had already put on the veil hat, calmly followed her mother to get out of the carriage, and then nodded at the man slightly. The moment she met Zhao Chunxi, she knew that Zhao Luli must be in the Confucian Temple. Zhao Wangshu and Zhao Chunxi, these two children, were the lifeblood of Zhao Luli, even a bit of hair fell out he would be distress for a long time, so how could they be allowed to go out alone. Her marriage with this person had never filled with deep feelings. Even if the heart moved, it was only for a moment, and then it was obliterated by various misunderstandings and humiliations.
When she saw him again in this life, Guan Suyi had no love nor hatred for him, so she could face him calmly. However, the enthusiastic Zhong shi started talking with Zhao Luli, and thus learned of his prominent status as Marquis Zhenbei.
“This country woman have seen Lord Marquis, it is only a matter of effort, Lord Marquis doesn’t have to worry. The worship ceremony is about to begin, allow this country woman to take one step ahead.” Zhong shi‘s enthusiasm quickly decrease, bent her knees and said goodbye. Guan Suyi didn’t speak from beginning to end, and her expression couldn’t be seen clearly through the veil hat, but her eagerness to leave could be seen from her frequent movements to the front door.
The unusual reaction of the two surprised Liu shi and Zhao Chunxi. They thought that after seeing Zhao Luli, the Guan family’s mother and daughter would surely entangle him to the ground, but they actually quite disdainful. It should be known that Zhao Luli not only had a high-ranking title, but also a well-known handsome man. Even as continuation, there were many young women in the prime of life who were willing to marry him, even imperial clan noble ladies also flocked over him. Why the mother and daughter of the Guan family seemed indifferent?
Zhao Chunxi, who was originally worried that Guan Suyi’s marriage into the Marquis Zhenbei Mansion would harm her own interests, has now changed from hesitation to annoyance. After the two walked away, she took her father’s arm and praised Guan Suyi very much. Liu shi also help beat the drum, and bluntly said that her granddaughter was getting older and that he should find a mistress to take care of her marriage, so that she would not be looked down upon. And also the grandson was still young and needed the care of a mother.
Zhao Luli regarded his children as his life, always fear they would be wronged. But thinking about his daughter’s marriage, and remembered his son who always clamoring for his mother, he was finally moved.
Presiding over the whole process of the ceremony to worship Confucius, Old Master Guan’s reputation among scholars had reached the peak. After returning home from the mountain, guests would come to visit every day, and there was an endless stream of carriages. Since the ‘coincident encounter’ with Liu shi and Zhao Chunxi, Guan Suyi had a vague premonition. Originally she was somewhat resistant to the idea of marriage, but became uncharacteristically positive.
However, the candidate had not been yet selected, and the matchmaker sent by the Marquis Zhenbei Mansion had already come with a generous gift, even Liu shi had come several times to intercede for her former son-in-law. Fortunately, the Guan family was not the one who tended to follow the flames, and categorically rejected on the grounds of ‘‘. The matchmaker and Liu shi tried their best to persuade them to no avail, so they had no choice but to turn around angrily, and Guan Suyi let out a sigh of relief.
But the matter was not over yet, the news of the marriage rejection caused Zhao Chunxi to cry in sorrow, and immediately led her younger brother to kneel in front of her father’s study and refused to get up. She only recognized Guan Suyi, and refused to listen to anyone’s advice, and under her instigation Zhao Wangshu was also desperately want a gentle and kind mother.
Zhao Luli couldn’t figure out what magic power Guan Suyi had, to the point that his daughter could not forget her. Even though he was rejected, he would not force it. But he could not resist the ardent and sad disappointed eyes of the pair of children. Even his mother-in-law Liu shi also praised Guan Suyi, saying that she would feel rest assured to give her two grandchildren to her more than to anyone else.
Zhao Luli felt ashamed towards his “late wife” and was about to order someone to send a letter to ask for her opinions. After going back and forth, Zhao Luli finally made up his mind and went to the palace to ask for audience. And because of all kinds of unspeakable entanglements, although he was in a high position after the founding of the country, he had no real power and rarely made inquiries about the affairs of the court. Therefore, he did not know that Guan Suyi had been appointed by the Emperor Sheng Yuan as the imperial concubine, and would enter the palace soon.