I’ll Be the Male Lead’s Sister-in-Law - Chapter 229
To Pay a New Year Call (3)
Xie Xuanchen looked indifferent as he said, “It’s nothing. I decided to sleep for a while after I came back from the court banquet and asked her to accompany me. In the end, she accidentally fell asleep. I didn’t wake her up when I came to meet you all so she is now having a tantrum with me.”
Zhu Yang Hong felt amused by the interaction between Xie Xuanchen and Mu Mingtang but he didn’t intend to ask further because of the presence of his unmarried daughter.
“Unfortunately, we came at the wrong time and disturbed the prince and princess.”
Mu Mingtang quickly joined the conversation and tried to change the topic. “I’m really sorry, I just interrupted everyone. What were you talking about before I came?”
“We are talking about the Privy Council.” Xie Xuanchen turned around and explained to Mu Mingtang. “Lord Zhu Yang Hong has been recalled to Beijing and is transferred to be the deputy envoy of the Privy Council.”
After Xie Xuanchen’s uncle became the emperor, he changed ruling system followed by the late emperor (Xie Xuanchen’s father). Even though the Privy Council specialized in military power, intellectuals (scholars) had become high ranking officials in the council after the current emperor came into power. Somehow, Zhu Yang Hong was promoted as the deputy envoy of the Privy Council.
“Congratulations, Sir Zhu, on your promotion.” Mu Mingtang immediately said.
Zhu Yang Hong thanked Mu Mingtang. After that, Xie Xuanchen talked to Zhu Yang Hong about the Privy Council. However, because of the presence of maids and the rest of the Zhu family, they didn’t take the conversation further.
The servants and maids were people sent by the emperor, so talking about sensitive matters in front of them may lead to unnecessary trouble. Gradually, their conversation turned into some general topics.
Mu Mingtang who was listening to their conversation, suddenly remembered Zhu Yang Hong’s daughter, Zhu Yuqing, and looked at her. Mrs. Zhu, who was paying attention to Mu Mingtang, noticed that and signaled her daughter by saying, “Yuqing, come forward to greet the princess.”
At her mother’s instruction, Zhu Yuqing stepped forward under the envious eyes of other concubines’ daughters of the Zhu family and gave Mu Mingtang a bow. After Mu Mingtang said a few words, the remaining three concubine daughters formed a row, and they all greeted her.
When the girls greeted Mu Mingtang, Mu Mingtang noticed how they had dressed and the changes in their movements as they tried to please her and attract her attention.
‘How naive of them. Well, it seems quite lively.’ (Mu Mingtang)
Although Mu Mingtang was amused by their actions, she said nothing on the surface and gave them a polite smile. She asked the girls to get up, and greeted each of them.
No matter how the main wife’s daughter and the concubines’ daughters were treated at the Zhu family, Mu Mingtang must treat them equally here. So the purses she gifted to the girls looked the same on the outside while the purse of the main wife’s daughter, Zhu Yuqing, was a bit expensive.
The young girls were very happy after they received the gifts. Among the girls, Mu Mingtang treated Zhu Yuqing differently, which made Mrs. Zhu very happy.
Mu Mingtang looked at the hidden competition among the sisters of the Zhu family and felt emotional. In fact, she was not much different in age from these girls, but she was already married. With the self-consciousness of a married woman, Mu Mingtang asked about the marriages of these girls, “I wish these little ladies have their own happiness. I wonder if these young ladies are engaged?”
The girls were startled by Mu Mingtang’s words. It was Mrs. Zhu who came forward, “No. We used to live in Yazhou with the general before. Girls were still young at that time and I didn’t want to part with them so early, so I didn’t arrange marriages for them. Now that they have grown up, it’s time to look for suitable life partners for them. I have just arrived in the capital so I don’t know any suitable families. Princess, you know a lot about the capital, so if it is not troubling the princess, I want to ask the princess for a favor. Could the princess recommend any suitable men of their right age?”
[TL Notes: Yazhou Ancient City is the southernmost ancient city in China.]
Mu Mingtang responded with a natural smile. Seeing her smile, the young ladies of the Zhu family showed shy expressions.
Mu Mingtang, a married woman, looked at these shy little girls and sighed with emotion.
Mu Mingtang thought for a while and said: “I’ve been lazy since I got married, and I don’t go out to socialize. Therefore, I have no impression of young men who are suitable for marriage. So it is better to wait for the garden party which will be held in the capital after the spring. I will take you all with me. At that time, there will be many officials’ wifes and daughters, and you can make connections, maybe at some point, the marriage will come.”
Now with the rise of Neo-Confucianism, the rules for women were becoming more and more strict, and unmarried women could not go out as they wished, and they had to be under their brothers’ eyes. Although those garden parties and flower viewing parties were nominally held for women, each young lady brought her own brothers and cousins. In the end, it turned into a great occasion for young people to look at each other.
[Neo-Confucianism is a moral, ethical and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism. For more details, read Wikipedia]
Zhu family girls became excited hearing Mu Mingtang’s words. Although Mu Mingtang said that she seldomly went out to socialize, King An’s status in the capital seemed to be very powerful, so the blind date resources that Mu Mingtang could access were far higher than Zhu’s family, who came from a military background and just moved to the capital. This was undoubtedly good news for the Zhu family. Although Mrs. Zhu asked Mu Mingtang to introduce someone to her daughter, she did not have much hope at all for Mu Mingtang to agree. This was a nice surprise.
Zhu Yuqing was the daughter of the main wife, but she had a shallow mind and expressed her surprise directly. Mrs. Zhu coughed and glared at her.
“Thank you, princess. This concubine is very grateful.” Mrs. Zhu said with a smile on her face.
Mu Mingtang also smiled politely: “Mrs. Zhu is very kind.”
As the female relatives of the Zhu family talked with Mu Mingtang, Xie Xuanchen and Zhu Yang Hong also paid attention to them. So when Zhu Yang Hong heard Mu Mingtang’s words about choosing sons-in-law for his daughters, he hurriedly thanked her.
“I would like to thank Princess An.”
“Lord Zhu, I should be the one to thank you for helping Xiangyang back then.”
[TL Note – Xiangyang is Mu Mingtang’s hometown.]
Zhu Yang Hong said: “I will dare not take credit. The thieves who made trouble in Xiangyang were killed by the prince, and it was also the prince’s order to inform us to rescue the people. The peace of Xiangyang is all because of the prince.”
At this time, Xie Xuanchen smiled and said, “You did a great job at that time, so you don’t have to refuse my gratitude. Besides, I don’t even need credit for it, I’ve already received a thank you gift.”
‘Thank you gift?’ Zhu Yang Hong suddenly realized what Xie Xuanchen meant, leaving him speechless for a while.
‘Today’s youngsters… Prince, can you be more restrained in front of others?’
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