Do You Not Dislike Yourself
News of Xuan Tian Hua returning to the capital was a huge shock to Prince Lian. He tightly held the guard’s arm and urgently asked: “You are certain of this?”
Yuan Xiao nodded: “It’s certain that he will arrive through the Eastern entrance at noon tomorrow. After returning to the capital, he should be heading into the imperial palace to report.” But Yuan Xiao was also puzzled. Looking at Prince Lian’s look of inspiration, he asked out of confusion: “His Highness the seventh prince of Da Shun returning to the capital, how is that related to master?” Was there need such an emotional response?
“A person that is truly like a deity is worth admiring!” Prince Lian rolled his eyes at Yuan Xiao, “What do you understand, blockhead.”
Yuan Xiao was exasperated: “Wasn’t it said that you should learn to be a bit manlier? Master, although imperial daughter promised that she would treat your illness, she said on the way back that she could only treat the surface; however, she cannot change your foundation. She can recover your male body, but you need to be a man at heart. Master, if you turn your attention for the seventh prince toward a girl, this subordinate would feel much more at ease.”
“So long-winded!” Prince Lian glared: “Which one of us is the master? Why is it that before I said much, you went on a long rant and began lecturing me? I’m really annoyed by you. Make some preparations. We’ll go and find Ya Ya for some tea tomorrow before noon. We’ll have her take this… take me to meet that deity.”
“Do you not feel that to be shameful?” Yuan Xiao frowned and said: “Going on your own to sneak a few looks would be fine. Why is it that you want to trouble imperial daughter Ji An? If she found out that you’re so lacking in promise and actually went to take a look at a man, who knows how she might scold you.” From the North all the way to the capital, Yuan Xiao had found out about Feng Yu Heng’s mouth and her personality that did not fear anything. If she wanted to begin insulting Prince Lian, she would not hold back in the slightest.
“You just don’t know how to analyze that, right!” Prince Lian said with a smile: “Think about it, that is Da Shun’s seventh prince. Even if he is refined and low-key and did not return with his guard of honor, he will definitely be in a carriage. He can’t be walking around on the streets. If I go on my own, I would only be able to watch from far away, as the carriage passed by. What’s the fun in that. But if I bring Ya Ya along, it would be different. Ya Ya is very familiar with him, and I heard that her younger brother is with that deity-like prince. She will definitely be going to greet him as soon as possible. Wouldn’t we be able to make use of this situation to get acquainted!”
Yuan Xiao frowned once more: “You even want to have a conversation? Master, what exactly are you wanting to do? This place is the capital of Da Shun. It’s not the former Qian Zhou. You couldn’t even act as you pleased in Qian Zhou, much less after coming to the capital of Da Shun. Why is it that you’ve become bolder and bolder?”
Prince Lian frowned and said in objection: “Because I was Qian Zhou’s Prince Lian, where I went and what I said would always be noticed by someone. But things are different now. I am nothing more than a normal commoner. Un, I can at most be considered a relatively wealthy commoner. I am living life as a normal commoner. Who would concern themselves with me?”
“But in any case, you should pay some more attention to some girls.” Yuan Xiao finally said the words that he had always wanted to say, “Can you not pay a little more attention to girls? If you find some that you like, just bring them back. Liven up this residence!”
“Do you find that just one in the residence is not enough?” Prince Lian gave up, “Yuan Xiao, I’ll tell you that only after living every day with Wu Li Sheng will you understand why his Highness the ninth prince will only marry Ya Ya in this life. In the beginning, I thought that Ya Ya was fierce and very capable in controlling her man’s heart; however, I found out now that it was just Xuan Tian Ming’s own self-defense. Women are too scary. One is bad enough. What will happen if there are more?”
Yuan Xiao watched Prince Lian hold his head while entering through the gate. Helplessly stomping his foot, he looked up at the sky and grieved in his heart: “Old prince and princess, if your souls are in heaven, have master be a little more normal!”
On this side, Prince Lian returned to his residence. On the other side, Feng Jin Yuan entered his own courtyard with the support of He Zhong.
When Feng Jin Yuan returned to the manor, Fen Dai was in the hall, giving her maidservant Dong Yin some instructions: “Think of a way to find out more about the master of the residence next door. Didn’t they come to send gifts. Prepare some things and send them over. This is called reciprocity. This way, you can use this opportunity to get to know them. Ask around about what the situation is with elder sisters and husbands.”
Dong Ying nodded and thought for a bit, saying: “Young miss, as this servant sees it, the one that came earlier seemed to be a little off.” She pointed at her own head and said: “It looked like she was not very sharp.”
Fen Dai was not too aware of this point, only telling Dong Ying: “Either way, ask around as much as you can.”
“Yes.” Dong Ying complied and was about to leave. Turning around, however, she saw Feng Jin Yuan walk in from the outside. He was limping and looked to have been injured. “Ah! Master has returned.” She went forward to help support him, bringing Feng Jin Yuan to sit inside the hall. Only then did she bow and quickly leave.
At first, Feng Jin Yuan just wanted to sit in the hall for a while; however, he did not think that Fen Dai would also be present. He could not help but feel a little embarrassed.
Fen Dai, however, did not know where this embarrassment came from, but she still remembered the reason Feng Jin Yuan had left the residence today. She immediately asked: “How did things go for father with the job?”
Feng Jin Yuan shook his head, very disappointed.
“Still no good?” Fen Dai’s expression became a little ugly. She believed that Feng Jin Yuan’s embarrassment might have been a result of this; however, she still could not hold back and said: “Father goes out every day to look for work. How can it be that you can’t even find a job?”
Feng Jin Yuan snorted but did not say anything. He did indeed want to find a job, but he had been the prime minister. This old face of his was recognized by a large number of people. In addition to this, he could not give up on his own stature. For things that did not require many qualifications, he could not lower himself to do them. For things that required some more dignity, he could not bring himself to ask the people that had to curry favor with him in the past. Like that, him leaving the residence to find work became him finding a place to sit around and drink tea. He was simply doing it for show.
But the more he remained quiet, the angrier Fen Dai became. The current her did not have even a fraction of the respect and admiration that she once had for her father. To Fen Dai, Feng Jin Yuan had become an encumbrance. Not only could he not provide a single cent for the communal funds, but the fifth prince also needed to be told to provide funds every month. It would be fine if it was just once or twice, but it was like this every month. She really feared that she could not wait until she became of marriageable age before the fifth prince became annoyed with this sort of situation. She was only twelve years of age. She was too far from the age of marriage.
“Perhaps father hasn’t even been going to look for work?” Fen Dai immediately hit the nail on the head. When she saw Feng Jin Yuan’s guilty expression, she became even angrier and could not help but curse: “Could it be that you still think that you’re the prime minister? A standard first rank official? You want to pay attention to your face, but what face do you have to pay attention to? The fifth prince providing me with financial assistance is natural, but what about you? Concubine mother An and third sister both know that they need to rely on their own embroidery shop to eat. In this entire residence, you are the only one that does not have a source of income. Could it be that you plan on continuing like this?”
Feng Jin Yuan was stunned. He knew that because of his own circumstances, Fen Dai was becoming more and more arrogant. He thought at first that he would just endure it a bit and be done with it. After all, he still needed to rely on the fifth prince to survive; however, he never thought that Fen Dai would say this sort of thing. In an instant, he was left feeling too ashamed to show his face.
But Fen Dai had not finished, as she continued: “In truth, if father wants to find a job, it’s not hard. You just have not looked in the right place.”
“Hm?” Feng Jin Yuan was puzzled, “What do you mean?”
Fen Dai told him: “You are just lacking someone to introduce you. If someone provides you with an introduction, finding a job with dignity would not be difficult in the slightest.”
“Who would provide me with an introduction?” Feng Jin Yuan was startled then added: “Are you saying the fifth prince? Hah! If the fifth prince could help father by providing an introduction, that would truly be efficient.”
As he saw it, as long as the fifth prince spoke, he would definitely be able to receive a job that would be considered as having some official feeling despite not having any rank.
However, who knew that Fen Dai would snort coldly upon hearing this. She said: “You only know to rely on his Highness the fifth prince, yet you don’t think about how our family treated his Highness when he asked for this engagement. It did not agree in the slightest! That his Highness is able to have these sorts of feelings is already quite good. Don’t be too egregious in your hopes.”
Faced with Fen Dai’s cold look, Feng Jin Yuan did not worry about face. Instead, he quickly asked: “Since it’s not his Highness the fifth prince, who else is there?”
Fen Dai angrily stomped her foot, “Who else could it be? Have you forgotten that you have an imperial daughter as a daughter? It must be said that the person with the most power outside of the palace would be the ninth prince! Your second daughter is also imperial daughter Ji An, and she is the future princess Yu. As long as she speaks up, who would dare to not give her face? Can you not go and look for your own flesh and blood?”
Feng Jin Yuan was extremely shocked and exclaimed: “No good, no good! How could I go and look for her?”
Fen Dai hated his lack of growth: “Why can you not? You are her father. You gave birth to her and raised her. Even if you cast her out to the Northwest for three years, what about before that? Before she went to the Northwest, could it be that she had the same ability that she does now? She was able to make money on her own for food? It’s fine if you don’t argue with her for taking the spot of the Feng family’s daughter of the first wife and not performing its duties, but where is there any logic in her turning away her father when he needs help?”
Sweat began to appear on Feng Jin Yuan’s head. She wanted him to look for Feng Yu Heng? Just thinking about it caused his head to hurt.
But Fen Dai continued speaking once more: “Father needs to think about it carefully. The family still has me and third sister that have not yet gotten married! I have gotten engaged, but what about third sister? At this moment, there has been nobody that came to request a marriage. Could it be that father intends to watch her grow old and die in this residence? Third sister doesn’t have the same ability as Feng Yu Heng, nor does she have any outstanding qualities. She’s even less like me, your fourth daughter, who knows to put in some effort. Feng Xiang Rong is someone that adapts to her situation. Don’t place too much hope in using her as a bargaining chip to entice some noble person. She doesn’t have the status for that, and you don’t have that fame. That’s why, at the core, our marriage will rely on the Feng family’s face. It’s fine if you aren’t the prime minister, but just don’t make it so that you don’t have any face at all. When the time comes, don’t blame us for becoming unhappy once we leave and refuse to acknowledge you!”
Fen Dai’s words became fiercer and fiercer. Feng Jin Yuan was also trembling with anger. He turned around and asked Fen Dai: “Are you disdaining father?”
“Could it be that you don’t disdain yourself?” Fen Dai was even more puzzled, “Do you not even have this bit of self-awareness? Do you know that when we go out onto the streets, we are talked about behind our backs! They all say that our father is a eunuch!”
Feng Jin Yuan’s face alternated between being red and white. He was left regretting that he did not have a crack to crawl into after hearing what Fen Dai said. But at the same time, he thought carefully about whether or not he would look for Feng Yu Heng. But the purpose was not to find a job. Most importantly, it was the root of life that had been rendered worthless by Yao shi!