The emperor did not expect her to decline the offer. From many perspective, this is more a blessing, yet she declined with such determination. This somewhat annoyed him, he frowned and said with displeasure, "Then I can't grant you your request either."
Hearing this, Murong Yun Shu secretly sighed, looking resigned, she hesitated for quite a bit of time before she said, "My lord, peasant girl did not come here today to negotiate terms with you. Whether you grant me my request or not, Huifeng Bank is still property of the Murong House, we won't let other infringe upon it, not even you."
The emperor was enraged, "If you continue to be so disrespectful, I just might sentence all your 9 degree of relatives to death!1"
Murong Yun Shu still looked indifferent, as though she has already accepted her fate, in a very calm tone, she said, "The crown prince is also part of my clan." As though to say "we can all die together."
Owing to the pressure from the empress dowager, the royal family had never openly acknowledge the existence of the Murongs as part of the imperial relatives; neither did the Murongs ever saw the need to claim their relationship with the royal family. For the last four years, the Murongs had been complacent at their status in the business world and never step foot into politics. But at the end of the day, the Murongs are the crown prince's only relatives, getting rid of the Murongs would be like destroying the crown prince's alliance, and that was not a desirable outcome for the emperor, at least not currently. Empress dowager's side of the family was too powerful in the dynasty, as well as deeply rooted. If the emperor didn't want the empress dowager to gain control of the state affair should he pass away2, then it's vital to make sure Murong House stuck around until the crown prince establish his status.
Murong Yun Shu understood this only too well, which contributed to her fearlessness. "Peasant girl was not trying to go against your majesty's wish. Unfortunately, I am already engaged, so I would not be able to comply." Even if you have the winning hand, it is still vital to know when to recede, sometimes receding is the better strategy to get ahead. "If my lord has any doubts about peasant girls, please send a court official to accompany me on this matter." After all, the only reason the emperor wanted her to marry the crown prince was to make sure she would remain loyal.
Just as she had expected, soon as the emperor heard that he could send someone to monitor the progress, his anger began to subside, and ready to meet her half way. With his virile voice he said, "Okay, Bishop Nie will work with you on the currency reform issue."
Stepping out of the imperial study, Nie Qing looked like his mother had just died, he said coldly, "You know, the court will never let bank responsible for the release of "silver dollar" remain in private control. It's a matter of time before the government takes over Huifeng Bank."
Murong Yun Shu lifted her hand to block out the fiery sun, walking forward she said, "I know."
"Then why did you put up a pointless fight? All you were doing was making Murong House a thorn in the emperor's eyes. Sooner or later, he is going to get rid of you."
"Master Nie," Murong Yun Shu paused, she cocked her head and looked at him, quizzically she asked, "You sure seem genuinely concerned for me?"
Nie Qing seemed embarrassed, turned his head and said, "You are reading too much into this."
"Oh yeah?" Murong Yun Shu raised her brows, then turned her head and started admiring the flowers on the side of the road, she continued, "If I don't fight back when I could, how could I face all my Murong ancestors in a hundred years."
1. In ancient China, when a major crime was committed, usually against the emperor, not only the offender was sentenced to death, anyone that's related through "9 degree" were also sentenced to death. The exact definition of "9th degree" were debatable, one interpretation was the individual himself, then 4 generations up (father, grandfather, great grand father and great great grand father) and 4 generations down (you get the idea). Another one is 4 degree from the paternal side (aunt's children, sister's children, daughter's children), anyone directly related (parents, siblings, children), and 3 degree from the maternal side (maternal grand parents, and mother's brother), and 2 degree from the wife's side (wife's parents).
2. 垂帘听政 - The original term used here means "listening to the court behind the curtains". In the old days, women were not allowed attend court, where the officials made reports to the king. So a few times in Chinese history, mothers or grandmothers of very young kings will listen in on the court behind curtains. Meaning the actual power lied with these women rather than the young kings.