Side Story 3: Illicit Dealings – Qiu Ning Couple (Part 2)
Feng An Ning and Master Feng kept on being confrontational until Feng Zi Xian came back to Ding capital after dealing with matter. When he came to know abt the matter, he came over to comfort her.
Feng Zi Xian said, “Younger Sister, you must not blame Father. Father currently does not have any choice. The current situation in Ding capital is turbulent and our Feng family is in imminent danger. Father wanted to marry you off to avoid you experience the misfortune. Older Biao Brother’s Cao family has big businesses and you will not have any worries on clothes and food when you marry over. Moreover he is considered to have both talents and appearance and is considered our relatives thus upon marriage, you will not be be poorly treated. Eldest Brother knows that you feel wronged in your heart but the present is not the same as the past. If there was not this event, naturally one would let you pick a husband that you like but now… An Ning, do bear with it. Father have no other choice. Marrying him is better than following our family and being in an unknown ending.”
Feng An Ning was startled when she heard it as no one told her about these before. Some days ago, she had seen that the Feng family were non-stop busy and she felt strange. However everytime she brought it up, she would be dismissed by Master Feng. Feng An Ning really did not link her marriage matter to that.
She questioned, “Eldest Brother, what is meaning of your words? Is the Feng family going to fall into misfortune?” Not waiting for Feng Zi Xian to reply, she continued, “If the Feng family is to fall into misfortune, how could I, a daughter of the Feng family, watch coldly from the side? Could it be that Father wanted to marry me off so that I could avoid everything? We are afterall one family, one have to go through thick and thin together!”
Feng Zi Xian sighed and said, “Younger Sister, how could I not know what you are saying? It is just that there are many things that are not as simple as you think. It is naturally good that you want to go through thick and thin with the Feng family but how would Father and Mother bear that? You have been doted and spoilt since young and we are not willing to let anything happen to you. Moreover there are many people who have evil intentions, what if they were to use you to threaten the Feng family?” After a pause, Feng Zi Xian became upset, “Not only you would not be able to help when you stay in the Feng family, Father and Mother would be discracted and it would become the soft underbelly of the Feng family. If you were to be married to the Cao family, not only Father and Mother would feel assured, the Cao family would perhaps help out.”
Feng An Ning did not speak for a long time.
“An Ning…” Feng Zi Xian was somewhat worried when she did not speak.
“Eldest Brother, I am fine.” She took a deep breath and smiled towards Feng Zi Xian, “Let me think about it.”
When Feng Zi Xian saw that she did not want to say more, he knew that it was very difficult for Feng An Ning to accept such a change in such a short timing. He did not say any much at that moment and left.
When Feng Zi Xian left, Feng An Ning looked at the bronze mirror stunned and her hands trembled slightly.
Human’s fate was as uncertain as the weather. Feng An Ning had never thought that in just a short night, she would go from a Young Lady who was being envied by everyone would become in such a dangerous situation. She had never thought that she would become a burden.
When she was young she had lived too naively and comfortably but one had not thought that Heavens was stingy and hateful. He had let the first half of one’s life be so fortunate but it would be repayed with a precarious future.
One was to continue living one’s life accoding to one’s personality, the other side was family.
Feng An Ning thought about when Shen Miao had wanted to protect the Shen family was shackled at so many areas and when she did anything, she would have to think about consequences. Was she also so tangled up?
She looked at herself in the mirror. Could the arrogant Young Lady with a moon face appearance be able to bear such a huge responsibility?
One could no longer continue like this. Feng An Ning though that if only when one was pampered, could one be arrogant. Not everyone was the Feng family and she could not be sheltered by the Feng family for the rest of her life.
Anyways… The person she liked did not like her at all.
Feng An Ning made up her mind
Feng An Ning’s transformation surprised everyone.
She agreed to Master Feng’s suggestion, deciding to meet up and chat with Gentleman Cao and perhaps become his wife in the future.
The Feng family knew the reason of it but they had no other way out. There were only a few routes in front of them and only this route would let Feng An Ning live easier. If it was possible, they were not willing for Feng An Ning to suffer any greviences. But when it comes to the time when greviences must be suffered, they wanted her to suffer lesser or suffer the least.
Feng An Ning’s transformation was not only on her attitude towards the Older Biao Brother from Cao family, but also on her temper. It seemed that she had turned into a different person overnight and became somewhat quiet, looking like a sensible and gentle person from an outsider but it was very deplorable in the eyes of the Feng family. However everytime they bring it up with Feng An Ning, she would only smile and said some perfunctory words.
Gentleman Cao was very satisfied with Feng An Ning. After all Feng An Ning was a beauty and now that she had achange of temperament, she became pleasant and adorable, making him like it.
In a twinkling of an eye, it was almost time to discuss about the marriage.
The Feng family and the Cao family had exchanged their age cards. Feng An Ning was sitting in the room, looking at the grass outside blankly.
However she heard her personal maid running over in a rush, “Young Lady, it is not good! It is not good!”
“What had happened?” Feng An Ning asked.
“Biao Young Master has been beaten up by someone in Zui Xian Lou (direct translation: Drunked Immortal Building)!” The maid continued, “He was being beaten by the Eldest Shen Young Master of the General residence!”
Feng An Ning originally did not care about what the maid had said but upon hearing the last sentence, she could not help but be surprised, “You are saying… Who did the beating?”
“The Eldest Shen Young Master of the Shen family, the Eldest Brother of the Fifth Shen Young Lady!” The maid was so worried that her tears almost fell, “Gentleman Cao is currently making a fuss in the hall, saying to cancel the marriage.”
When Feng An Ning arrived at the hall, she saw Feng Furen and Master Feng consoling Gentleman Cao, calling him ‘virtuous nephew’. However it seemed that it was difficult for Gentleman Cao to calm down. Upon seeing Feng An Ning appearing, he immediately rushed over.
It was only then that Feng An Ning saw that there were patches of bruises on Gentleman Cao’s face. It seemed that he was beaten up rather badly. It was especially so for his two black eyes. She could not help but burst out laughing.
When Gentleman Cao saw it, he became angrier and pointed at her nose as he scolded, “Since one had already secret relations with that Shen Qiu, then why the need to have a marriage with me? Could it be that one want to marry into the Cao family and make me wear a green hat?”
“Shut up!” Master Feng’s face became solemn. This Gentleman Cao’s words were truly unpleasant. Although Master Feng wanted to marry Feng An Ning over, she was afterall doted by Master Feng from young, so how would he allow her to be insulted so grievously?
Feng An Ning put her smile away, “Gentleman Cao, do guard one’s tongue. I had thought that with Gentleman Cao’s family status, one would definitely not learn from others to sow discord and incite quarrels. It turned out that my thought incorrectly.”
She mixed with Shen Miao for a long time that she had learned to add three points of ridicule in her words. Gentleman Cao was flabbergasted for an instant before he sneered, “For what reason do you need to put up a noble and virtuous attitude? If you do not have any relations with him, why would he stand up for you without any reason?”
Stood up for her?
Feng An Ning frowned as Feng Zi Xian questioned, “Ah-Nuo, explain what is going on.”
Ah-Nuo was a servant of the Feng residence and because Gentleman Gao was staying in the Feng residence and was not familiar with the roads in Ding capital, Feng Zi Xian transferred his servant to Gentleman Cao’s side for his convenience.
Ah-Nou stood out and looked at Gentleman Cao with fear and trepidation before speaking slowly.
As it turned out this Gentleman Cao looked like he was inquiring about Feng An Ning’s welfare on the surface and looked like one who scrupulously abide by social etiquette but privately he was not at all decent. His perspective towards marrying Feng An Ning was only because Feng An Ning’s family background and appearance were considered rather well-matched. However even though that Gentleman Cao did not have any concubine in the residence, he was one who had numerous incidents of touching other women.
When he was drinking in Zui Xian Lou the pack of rogues that he befriended in Ding capital asked him, “Young Master Cao, one heard that the Young Lady of the Cao family has an arrogant personality. Since you like to drink and seek pleasure, would you moderate yourself in the future?”
“What kind of joke is that?” Gentleman Cao replied, “It is entirely justified for men to have social interaction outside. Moreover for me to marry her is considered to be generous to her. It is not any female that can enter my Cao family. If one did not see her docile and cute, then it would not be her turn to enter our Cao residence’s doors.”
“Docile and cute? Isn’t it is said that Young Lady Feng is domineering, proud and condescending?”
Gentleman Gao smiled complacently, “That is only piling errors on top of errors. Most likely she knows her background and deliberately pleased me. Never mind. Seeing her so hardworking and obedient, as long as she do not provoke me in the future and be cautious, I will give her more tender affections.” When he spoke to the end, it became a joke and was somewhat too much.
Gentleman Gao was speaking happily but someone strode over suddenly. Before he could react, he was punched by the other so hard that he was flipped onto the ground. That person gave him three punches and two kicks, making Gentleman Cao cry for his parents. Afterwards one heard that person saying, “The Feng family’s foresight for son-in-laws is just poor! Such a weakling actually wants to marry the Young Lady of the Feng family?”
Everyone around watching was stunned. Gentleman Gao has lost his face and had gotten beaten thus becoming furious. Upon asking about that person’s identity, he then knew it was the Eldest Young Master of the General residence. Since he could not offend Shen Qiu, he came over to make things difficult for the Feng family.
When Master Feng and Feng Furen heard it, their face became livid but they were not angry at Shen Qiu and instead were angry with Gentleman Cao’s conduct. One had thought of him as a relative and saw that he was decent. If this incident did not happen today, they did not know that Gentleman Cao had such a face privately. Since one had looked down upon Feng An Ning, then why the need to comeover to propose? If Feng An Ning were to enter the great doors of the Cao residence, this would be the same as jumpng into the fire pit. How could one expect him to care for Feng An Ning sincerely for a lifetime if he did not even respect his wife.
Master Feng became furious, “You indeed should be beaten up. Since you look down on the Feng family, the Feng family cannot afford to have such a great personage. Get out!”
Gentleman Cao was startled and said incrediously, “What?”
“Did you not hear? Telling you to get out.” Feng An Ning said coldly. She no longer concealed the disgust in her eyes. Many years ago, she had personally seen this Cao person playing intimately (disrespectfully) with the maids and thus did not have any illusions about him. If it was not to help the Feng family, she was not willing to make a compromise. Since all pretenses were dropped, there was nothing else to say.
In her heart, she felt somewhat fortunate.
Gentleman Cao still wanted to speak but the livid Feng Zi Xian had already ordered people to chase him out.
When Feng Furen looked at Feng An Ning, her heart could not help but feel sour. She almost let her daughter fall into a fire pit. It was Feng An Ning who turned around and comforted her instead.
However this marriage for Feng An Ning was considered ruined.
Since Feng An Ning did not need to deal with that disgusting Older Biao Brother, her days passed a lit easier. Although the Feng family was still in jeopardy, she no longer was an unnecessary pain and went along with the flow with everything.
However she did not expect that she would encounter Shen Qiu on her way out.
She was somewhat hesitant and did not know what to say. Upon meeting him, she was suddenly overwhelmed and was no longer as forthright and agile as usual.
It was Shen Qiu that took the first step towards her.
Feng An Ning watched as he walked closer. He became taller, braver, powerful and handsome. Compared to those weak gentlemens, he seemed to have a cast iron body.
In a moment her heart became frenetic and she blurted out, “Why did you beat up Gentleman Cao?”
Shen Qiu frowned, “What about beating up that kind of person?”
“You shouldn’t have beaten him up.” Feng An Ning shook her head, “Now that it is the troubled times, if he were to become resentful because of the matter, it would be hard to avoid when he messed around behind one’s back. To shed all pretense of cordiality at such a time…” In fact she did not know what she was saying as she just said anything under the panicked situation.
Shen Qiu stared at her, “If I don’t beat him up, would you marry such a person?”
Feng An Ning was startled and immediately whispered, “Perhaps so. There is nothing bad about it.”
“This is nothing bad?” There was a trace of anger in Shen Qiu’s tone of voice as he continued, “You want to marry those kind of bastard that drinks outside and talk about one’s fiancé at the back?”
Feng An Ning raised her head and looked at him, “What does this have to do with Deputy General Shen?”
She did have a little expectation.
“Before Jiao Jiao left, she had specifically ordered me to look after you. If she knows that you will be married to such a thing, she will definitely be angry.” Shen Qiu said, “Naturally this is related to me.”
Feng An Ning dimmed, “Many thanks for Deputy General Shen’s care but the present is different from the past. In Ding capital, any family who dared to marry me at such a critical period is like a phenoix’s feather and unicorn’s horns. I do not have many choices but many thanks for your good intentions.”
Shen Qiu came to a halt.
After Feng An Ning finished, she then bowed a little before turning to leave.
She had always been straightforward and proud, like a study horse that was not familiar with the ways of the world but now she was wasting away.
Without any reason, Shen Qiu’s heart felt stucked. In a moment he had made a decision that after a long long time later, he would not be able to help but laugh upon thinking of it as it was a fortunate life decision.
He said, “Nonsense. How can there be no more choices? How do you think of me?”
Feng An Ning’s eyes immediately widened.
“Do you think of me better that that Cao guy?” He repeated again.
Military people valued relations and did not go in circles like literary people. They were direct, enthusiastic and very sincere.
Two red clouds suddenly appeared on Feng An Ning’s face.
She said, “If I say yes, is this considered an illicit deal?”
This time it was Shen Qiu that was stunned.