Zi Yuan poured out the tea that was gradually cooling, then she put the newly steep tea on the table, she said in a whisper to Murong Shu Qing who was leaning on the window and reading a book: “Miss, Master Fu is here, he is at the Guan Yu building, waiting for you now, and wants to meet with you.”
For a long time, Murong Shu Qing finally recovered from reading her book: “What is he doing here?”
“He has said that he is coming to deliver an invitation!” Zi Yuan took the book that was handed over by Murong Shu Qing and put it back on the bookshelf, and offered the new tea.
“Deliver an invitation? Is it necessary that he is actually coming here personally for this?” Taking the tea, Murong Shu Qing sighed in her heart, when she came here three years ago, these servant girls took care of her extremely well. At the beginning, she was not used to, but she actually enjoyed it now, people really loved the comfortable life and hated to work ah.
“He arranged someone to deliver it several times in the past, you always made the steward to go, I am afraid that this time, he comes personally so you have to give him face and personally go (by yourselves).”
The economy of the Dong Yu’s country, the north side was led by the Huo’s family who started as horse’s breeders, the west side was on the border with Cang Yue’s country. There was no economic development whatsoever, but there was a faintly discernible manor on the boundary that appeared about two years ago. They were trading businesses with both countries, nobody knew whether they were the people from Dong Yu or Cang Yue, but they appeared to have some influences in both countries. The east and south sides, besides Murong’s family, the An’s family and Fu’s family, each ruled about one-third of the areas, afterwards, because Murong Xiang did not have any business skills, it gradually declined, the An’s family power was also gradually growing. Even though Master Fu was regarded to have a proper way in running the business, unfortunately, he did not have any son, he only had one daughter, so the Fu’s family was also facing some crisis. These past three years, the Murong family’s was getting stronger day by day, with the An’s family that was equally strong, and there were more influences also. The Fu’s family was clearly inferior. Fu Bo Wen personally delivered the invitation today, most likely because the Murong’s family only produced the raw materials for cotton and silk in the past. These past two years, the Murong’s family began to engage into clothing business, this was not surprising that the Fu’s family whose business was mostly in the clothing business, felt anxious.
“Alright, I will go to take a look.” Speaking, Murong Shu Qing stretched herself, and slowly went out of Sui Yuan. Walking leisurely all the way, Zi Yuan was following behind Murong Shu Qing, and guessing the purpose of Fu Bo Wen’s visit, she was looking pensive.
“Master Fu is really a rare visitor ah!” Marching her steps leisurely, a quiet and clear voice echoed after entering the Guan Yu building.
Fu Bo Wen heard the voice, and raised his head to look towards Murong Shu Qing, who just entered the door and was wearing a light green dress. But it was difficult to hide her magnificent, her every movement had self-confidence and at will. If he did not decide to make trouble without any reason with this influential’s young lady, with many wasteful arguments in the past, when Murong Shu Qing took over the Murong’s family afterwards, and changed the style of business dealings, he was too arrogant. These past three years, he suffered many deficits, and at that time, he was still sneering at the uninhabited’s Murong family. He did not dare to look down at this person who always had a light smile (on her face) now, a harmless woman’s face.
“Hehe (chuckling), this old man comes today specifically to deliver this invitation.” Restraining from his radiant eyes, he was smiling and then he handed over the golden invitation to Zi Yuan who was standing on the side.
“Master Fu is too courteous, it should be alright to ask someone to pass on this invitation, no need to trouble your time with this kind of thing.” Looking at Zi Yuan who come over to hand out the invitation, Murong Shu Qing lowered her head but she had not taken it yet. She only exchanged a light smile.
Looking that Murong Shu Qing had not accepted the invitation, Fu Bo Wen immediately said the purpose of his coming: “‘No trouble, no trouble, the 18th of this month is this old man’s big 60th birthday, Miss Murong must do me the honor ah!”
“So it is like that ah, then, of course I must come!” His big 60th birthday? It seemed that she could not avoid this banquet. (The words that the author used was Hongmen Yan, these “Feast at Hongmen” was a banquet set up with the plan of murdering a guest. This referred to when Xiang Yu was trying to murder his former friend and future Han’s Emperor, Liu Bang).
“Good! Good! Hehe!” Picking up the green tea that was on the table, Fu Bo Wen who did not have any intention to chat, asked: “Murong family’s clothing business has been growing impressively within the past two years. It was really a pity that you did not participate in the brocade contest for the Imperial family last year ah. Do you have any interests in participating in the competition this year?”
“Murong’s family has not been in the clothing business for a long time, the skill is still immature, this Imperial competition must be fine and extraordinary, it will still be a long time that the Murong’s family will have any desires to join the contest. But ~~~ Rong Daren has asked us to participate repeatedly, I do not know how good we are now either ah!” Fu Bo Wen was secretly relaxed, but the expression in his eyes turned dark afterwards.
He clearly hoped that she would not participate, he had done a lot of dirty tricks behind her back, his face still pretended to be regretful now. Murong Shu Qing laughed in her heart, but her face remained calm and collected while she was drinking the tea.
“Miss Murong is too courteous, Su Ni Chang (the name of Murong family’s clothing business) is actually very good, can also produce unique things. If the Murong’s family is participating, there will surely be many good qualities in this Imperial brocade’s competition.” Fu Bo Wen knew that he was merely flattering, even though Su Ni Chang started the clothing business two years ago, but it was because Murong’s family produced the raw material on their own, so the costs were low. And he did not know where she could find ‘the best of the world stitcher’, Mrs. Luo Yun’s two apprentices. One was an expert in dyeing the clothes, the color and luster were bright, it would not decline for a long time. The other one was an expert in embroidery, all of the embroideries were similar to living animals.
The Fu family’s clothing business, Cai Yun Fang was already losing about 40-50 percent now, everybody knew that the Imperial’s brocades came from Cai Yun Fang for the past many years. The business could go down if they could not maintain to be the winner at the Imperial competition, he was afraid that Cai Yun Fang would be finished.
“No way, we only strive the hardest.” Finished speaking, she picked up the steeping good tea, and looked at the scenery from outside the window.
“It is late, this old man bids goodbye, Miss Murong must come earlier on that day (the feast) ah!” This Fu Bo Wen had been in the business world for many years, once he found out that Murong Shu Qing did not have any intentions to speak again, thus, he got up to bid goodbye.
“Certainly, Zi Yuan, send Master Fu off.”
“Yes! Master Fu, please!”
Early summer was her favorite season, Murong Shu Qing was wondering at the alley, and she was actually happy and content. The sun set in the west to welcome the afterglow, the cool-breeze gave off the lotus fragrant, her mood was not bad. Xing Hun was already 12 years old this year, within the next three years, she could slowly let him try to manage Murong family’s businesses, then she would wait until he was 18 years old to hand them over to him. Anyway, she was not Murong Shu Qing so she would find a quiet and secluded courtyard to live in the future, with a fragrant tea wine, green hills and clear waters as her companions, her life would be free and leisurely.
Murong Shu Qing was immersing in the good mood of the landscape, not far from her, two shadows bursted into her line of sight in panic. She narrowed her eyes to look at them, one of them should be Murong Xiang’s second Madam, Yun Pei Hua. Then who was the other young servant girl? She looked like she was in a difficult situation, the two people were flustered. Stretching her waist, it had been boring anyway, Murong Shu Qing got up and walked over towards the two people.
“Madam, I am begging you to save Miss, ok. Miss is really suffering ah!” Xiao Chan pulled Yun Pei Hua’s skirt, her crying face was completely wrinkled together, she ran out to beg Madam this time. If Madam could not save Miss, then Miss would be finished!
“It is not that I do not want to save Wan-er, but ~~ but I am only a woman (she was saying this using a derogatory term), what ways do I have.” Yun Pei Hua listened to Xiao Chan’s words, her heart was also pulled tight together. Poor child ah!
“You go and beg Master, in any case, Miss is also Master’s flesh and blood ah!” Xiao Chan cried until her eyes were swollen like walnuts, but this hope to save Miss, she would desperately grab the corner of Yun Pei Hua’s skirt and not letting go, just liked asking for help at the grain of rice.
“When does Master even listen to what I am saying, when does he regard Wan-er as his flesh and blood ah!” Finished speaking, both of them were holding and crying bitterly together.
Murong Shu Qing was leaning on the door by the side of Chu Yun pavilion, it was really helpless to see both of these people were crying their eyes out, if she did not say anything, they would still be crying blindly.
“It is very lively today ah!” A languid voice echoed just now. The two people who were inside, looked as if they saw a ghost and fell on the ground, Xiao Chan was scared, her whole body was trembling even more.
Murong Shu Qing slowly walked in front of the two people, Yun Pei Hua already stood up, and wiped the tears that were in her face, and said with a shivering voice: “Shu Qing, you ~ why are you here?” Yun Pei Hua was holding a silk handkerchief on her hand, anything that she said was not clear because she was scared in her heart. Even if they did not need to call Murong Shu Qing Elder Miss these past years, and they could call by her name, but after receiving bullying for many years, she was still shrouded with dread towards her.
“Whose servant girl is this, she is very unfamiliar.” Murong Shu Qing looked at the young servant girl who was landing on the ground that her body almost coiled like a ball, she only felt helplessness in her heart. It made her to think of the event from three years ago, when all of the people thought that she was a ghost when they saw her. It was nothing if one loved to kneel down, but one must not be forced to crawl on the ground. It was with great difficulty that the situation was better now, another young servant girl liked that appeared again (kneeling in front of her).
“This slave servant ~~ this slave servant is Xiao Chan, I am, I am ~~ serving Miss Wan Ru!” Xiao Chan’s crying made her voice sounded hoarse and her voice was also trembling so it made Murong Shu Qing to knit her eyebrows.
“Wan Ru? Then, why are you here?” After thinking for a long time, she remembered Murong Wan Ru, she was Murong Xiang’s first daughter, she got married four years ago. Due to Murong Shu Qing wanted to be the eldest Miss, so Murong Wan Ru could only addressed as Miss Wan Ru.
Yun Pei Hua quickly moved in front of Xiao Chan and hastily said: “She ~~~ she is here to take Wan Ru’s stuffs, and she will leave immediately.”
“Taking what stuffs? Taking what?” Her intonation was relaxed, as if it was bathed in the spring wind, but these two people, the one who was kneeling and the one who was standing, were immediately lost their voices. The daughter who was already married out, and she still came back to take any stuffs. If Master misunderstood that she would frequently take Murong family’s stuffs to give to Wan Ru, then it would be dreadful.
“You get up, ok, what are you returning for, you should speak clearly, you still do not want to speak the truth.” Murong Shu Qing sat down on the stone bench inside the courtyard.
For a good moment, Xiao Chan had not stood up, instead, she was kneeling and crawling in front of Murong Shu Qing, but did not dare to pull the corner of her skirt, she could only continuously kowtowed in front of her, while her mouth was calling out: “Eldest Miss, save Miss, ok, I am begging you!” Continuously, her head was knocked on the ground and bleeding.
“Alright, speak clearly about the matter, stop kowtowing, get up and speak!” Murong Shu Qing pulled Xiao Chan up, and she could see that her forehead was bleeding badly. What kind of an enormous crime could be, she wanted to listen to it properly.
Xiao Chan did not dare to believe that the Eldest Miss was willing to listen to her, but in any case, she must try if there was an opportunity to save Miss: “When Miss just got married to the Li’s family, the Li’s family treated Miss pretty good at first, afterwards, because Miss did not get pregnant after one year, Master Li brought in a concubine for Guye (an appellation for son in law that is used by the wife’s family), it was Guye’s younger cousin (from maternal side). Since then, Guye was indifferent towards Miss, two years ago, Master Li admittedly said that Miss was a nobody at the Murong’s family, so she could not help their Li’s family, they treated Miss worst and worst. Later, Guye took another small concubine again from a brothel, not long after, the woman was pregnant, because she was doted by Guye, she wrongly accused that Miss hurt the child inside her abdomen. Guye was in a rage, and he hit Miss, afterwards, Miss felt somewhat unsatisfactory so they squared off. Last month, the small concubine accused Miss wrongly that she injured the young master, Guye hit Miss so hard and she could not get out of the bed now, and we were not allowed to call a physician. They were saying that it would lose the Li family’s face, so Miss could not look for a physician. I am afraid ~~ afraid ~~.” Once she was already unable to talk anymore, Xiao Chan tumbled to sit down, and cried out without talking anymore. Yun Pei Hua was also wiping her tears, her child ah!
Murong Shu Qing had not said anything, she was only sitting quietly, Xiao Chan and Yun Pei Hua did not dare to make any sounds, the whole Chu Yun pavilion was fearfully quiet.
“Zi Yuan!” Not knowing when Zi Yuan was already standing at the gate of the Chu Yun pavilion, but hearing Murong Shu Qing called her, she walked slowly to come in.
“Look for a physician and let him examine this girl, and go to Tang Li’s family with her tomorrow, take Wan Ru home, just say that Master and Madam are longing for their daughter, and want her to stay for a few days. If they are making things difficult for you, just tell Li Dong Ming that Magistrate Wang will inspect Rong district next month, ask him if he already makes a good preparation?! He naturally knows how difficult to deal with the inspection, and does not dare not to let go off a person (Wan Ru).” Murong Shu Qing finished speaking, and got up to leave Chu Yun pavilion. She could not help to sigh again that the woman in this time period was sorrowful, even though domestic violence in the modern time meant that one would break the law, and it was still happening (in modern time), it would be even more during this time period. If the woman’s family was not powerful, she could be killed, and nobody would dare to care about it.
“Yes! Master Xing Hun and the two Gongzi have already returned, the food is also prepared.”
“I am very tired today, and will not go out to eat, deliver the food to Sui Yuan, ok. Tell Xing Hun that he can begin to learn to ride a horse from Xuan tomorrow, he can learn diligently.”
The voices from the two people gradually became far away, but the two people who were in Chu Yun pavilion had not recovered yet. After a long time, Yun Pei Hua recovered: “Wan Ru is saved, Wan Ru is saved.” She was crying and foolishly pulling Xiao Chan. It was happy tears this time.
Xiao Chan still did not dare to believe that the Eldest Miss unexpectedly agreed to save Miss, and even agreed to take Miss home. Miss was really saved. But even though the Eldest Miss was very favored, did she not need Master’s acknowledgment?? But it did not matter, as she was willing to save Miss, that was good.