When Chu Jiao woke up the next day, she found herself safely back in her own bed. It could be assumed that a certain man still knew some courtesy and had the decency to send her back to the room.
Last night’s guilty pleasure made her body sore all over. She propped herself up, causing the delicate silk to slip off her shoulders, revealing fresh skin covered with red marks. She madly scolded Shen Zhen in her heart. It was currently a humid summer, how was she supposed to meet people like this.
She quickly glanced at the small couch beside her, where a stack of brand-new clothes laid neatly. Picking them up and taking a look, the magnificence of the item slowly unfolded and the rainbow-colored clothing fluttered out.
“Hmph, looks like he does have a conscience after all.”
She didn’t notice it herself, but the corner of Chu Jiao’s lips hooked up into a small smile from Shen Zhen’s gesture. She then summoned Lu Huan to enter the room to help her change her clothes.
And at the same time, at the side entrance of Shen residence, a dark-skinned young man was anxiously pacing back and forth.
“Aiya, let me tell you, young man. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a hurry.” The old servant, who dutifully guarded the gate, consoled, “At this hour, our Third Young Lord had already gone to court. You need to wait two more hours just to see him.”
“Aiyo, wait two more hours?” In truth, the young man looked handsome but the greasy hair and powdered face1Greasy Hair and Powdered Face(油頭粉面) means that someone is dressed up gaudily and vulgarly. made him look absurd. When he heard this, he childishly stomped his feet in exasperation and became even more uneasy.
“Mama, will you please help me pass on a message to the Third Young Madame again. Please say that her brother wants to meet her!” The young man fished out something from his sleeves and quickly shoved a silver inglot into the old woman’s hand.
The old woman flinched, “Fine. I’ll go and ask.”
“Young Madame.” Hong Xiu slowly pushed the curtain aside and stepped into the room, “The side gate has passed on a message saying that the young master has asked to see you.”
A few maids were a part of Chu Jiao’s dowry. Having been raised in the Chu Family, they all knew that the family had a son, so the young master Hong Xiu referred to was naturally Chu Jiao’s biological older brother, Chu Dahai.
“Him?” Chu Jiao’s thoughts stirred as she guessed Chu Dahai’s intentions. “Let him come in and welcome him to the front hall.”
She hadn’t had the time to go find this scoundrel and settle her debts with him for recklessly selling his biological sister’s hand-in-marriage. Now that he had taken the initiative to come to her door, it was just about time to do so.
This time, Chu Dahai was at the end of his tether when he went to find Chu Jiao.
He took charge of the decision and arrangements for marrying his sister into the Shen family but was completely led astray by a certain someone. This person took the initiative to be acquainted with him and later on, be friends, claiming to be the nephew of the old matriarch of the Shen family. The certain person was none other than Shen Zhen’s cousin, who was the current assistant prime minister of the Ministry of Appointments. Hearing lauds of his accomplishments, again and again, made Chu Daihai grow smug and conceited. He wholeheartedly thought that not only was he able to find a great marriage for his younger sister, but he was also able to solve his problems of vital importance regarding his official career.
Who would’ve thought that after Chu Jiao’s marriage, he couldn’t contact the so-called male cousin who was supposed to be the nephew of the Old Matriarch? So naturally, he didn’t get to have the “nephew’s” promise of Shen Zhen assigning him an official position to be fulfilled.
Almost all of the family property brought from the Northwest were included in Chu Jiao’s dowry. While Chu Dahai was waiting for his cake for a long time, the dowry he gave to them nearly reached its end from being squandered away. He originally thought that the official position he wanted was within hand’s reach, but after what happened, he couldn’t even see a shadow of it. Unable to sit still any longer, he arrived at the Shen family, eagerly asking to see Shen Zhen, but he did not expect to be directly blocked at the gate. And so, he could only look for his sister to probe the current situation.
“Shen Qing, it’s almost time.”
After the court meeting, Shen Zhen was abruptly stopped by an inner servant, receiving an official order from Emperor Xie Yu, the contents of which were profound.
He respectfully received the order and left the palace hall.
Sitting in the sedan chair while heading back to the manor, Shen Zhen closed his eyes and gathered his thoughts.
This game has gone on for too long. It was finally time to pull the net.
The emperor’s patience was wearing thin, yet these noble families were turning a blind eye to the holy emperor’s kind heart, still trying to control the power and politics of the imperial government while putting on a respectable front. All of their hidden movements were completely in vain but were still ridiculous to watch.
Well then, let’s choose a family to behead and set them as an example.
Shen Zhen unconsciously played with the jade pendant around his waist. The jade pendant was pitch-black with an engraving of a roc standing proudly. It seemed as though it was a matching pair with the one Shen Zhen had gifted to Chu Jiao when she served him tea.
Where should he start first?
Once the sedan had arrived, he walked towards the study in deep thought. However, when he passed the front hall, he happened to hear the soft mumbles of two people quarreling.
“What do you mean by ‘give up on this thought’?”
“Father entrusted you to me before he left. This brother is also wondering whether he has treated you badly! Now, I’m only asking you to ask your father for a small favor, but you aren’t even willing to do this trivial little thing for your brother!? Jiao Jiao!”
“Trivial little thing?”
“For the sake of this trivial little thing, you married your sister off to someone who doesn’t even have a solid hold in the family?”
“Chu Dahai, I’m going to kindly remind you only for the sake of our blood relation. A person like you who’s easily duped still wants to be an official? Still wants to buy a title? Even if you have yet to take office and wear the black hat2Black hats are worn by feudal officials, A.K.A. official post, you won’t be able to keep your job for long!
“Shhh! Lower your voice! Wh-What do you mean buying a title! I’m also an accomplished scholar! I merely wanted to ask Assistant Minister Shen to help accommodate me and find me a position!”
“Ha! An accomplished scholar? Forget it.”
“Brother, you should just curb these evil desires. Father may have passed away, but his influence still remains in you. Why don’t you just go back to the Northwest and make something of yourself!”
“Shi Nong Gong Shang3Each character refers respectively to scholars, farmers, artisans, and merchants referring to the ‘four classes’ of ancient China.!! The merchants are the lowest in the hierarchy! Don’t you understand! I want to bring honor to our family and ancestors!”
“Jiao Jiao, please help your brother! Brother even prepared 64 boxes of dowry for you!”
“Heh, you prepared it for me!?” Chu Jiao smiled, anger seeping out. “That was obviously prepared by father before he died! Chu Dahai, wake up before it’s too late and quickly leave this whirlpool of a capital.”
She kindly advised, “I can’t protect myself now, and in the future… I won’t even be able to save you.”
“You’re staying here in this rich household spending your days in the lap of luxury yet you still claim you can’t protect yourself?” Chu Dahai simply didn’t believe Chu Jiao’s words at all, “Don’t lie. Shen Zhen is the youngest fourth grade official of the Daxie Dynasty. His future is limitless!”
“His future is limitless.” Chu Jiao glared at Chu Dahai coldly, “But that has nothing to do with me.”
“You’re his daughter-in-law, and I can be regarded as his in-law. Just help your brother out! Isn’t this human nature!” Chu Dahai still harbored excessive expectations.
“That person doesn’t even treat me as a daughter-in-law…” Chu Jiao’s words were obscure, but it deliberately made Chu Dahai misunderstand the situation.
The just and honorable Shen Zhen standing outside the front hall, eavesdropping, heard the girl’s harsh words and finally couldn’t help but go inside.
Why was the girl’s tone so bitter?
Was it because… He didn’t feed her until she was full last night?
“Is-Is that true?” Although Chu Dahai hurriedly married Chu Jiao away, he was not completely blind. He had also been making inquiries about the Shen family in the capital recently. This explained why he was presently feeling nervous. “Your husband isn’t his biological son?”
“Yeah…” Chu Jiao timidly nodded. When she raised her eyes, she caught a glimpse of the dark figure currently walking towards their way.
She didn’t want Chu Dahai to jump out and further complicate the issue, so she randomly said something in front of Shen Zhen, wanting to quickly end the conversation between the two.
“I’ve said everything I needed to say. I can’t help you, so you should quickly leave.”
Serve the tea and send the guest out.
“Don’t, good sister.” Chu Dahai became worried, “I don’t want a big official position! I’m just asking for a small official position. Please help your brother out…”
“No…” Chu Jiao’s heartless words had yet to leave her mouth when a big palm suddenly pressed down on her body.
“Alright.” Shen Zhen pompously sat on the couch next to Chu Jiao, speaking in a gentle tone, “What official position does my good nephew want?”
Shen Zhen: Good nephew, I’ll give you whatever you want.
Chu Dahai: Lord Shen, how nice of you!
Shen Zhen: There is a condition.
Chu Dahai: S-Say it.
Shen Zhen: Call me brother-in-law.
Chu Dahai: ? ? ?
TOC for advanced chapter – ICD
Translation status of advanced chapters: 4th and 5th world Completed