An Excessive Demand
Once Feng Yu Heng said these words, Feng Jin Yuan was able to near-instantly determine that Xuan Tian Ming was not in the carriage. He angrily stood up and pointed at his second daughter’s nose then began to curse: “Vile spawn!”
Feng Yu Heng did not speak. She could no longer be bothered with responding to someone that did not have any memory after being beaten like Feng Jin Yuan. Instead, it was Xuan Tian Yan that stopped Feng Jin Yuan, advising: “The manor is still conducting a funeral. Lord Feng should still hold the funeral as being most important. Do not get angry. That earlier matter is also this prince’s fault. It was this prince that recognized ninth brother’s imperial carriage that caused lord Feng to be mistaken. I hope that lord Feng will forgive this mistake.”
It had to be said that back when Feng Jin Yuan was the prime minister, he had the ability to put on an ugly expression when dealing with Xuan Tian Yan, who was not liked by the Emperor; however, he no longer had that ability. He was just a lowly fifth-ranked official, and he could not even invite any respectable guests for the matriarch’s funeral. This was already the third day, yet they had not even received thirty taels of silver, much less had any princes come to visit. This was something that he did not dare imagine, but a prince had indeed come. Regardless of the prince’s standing within in the imperial family, he was still a prince. At this sort of time, he could not fail to appreciate his kindness and had to give him face.
Thinking like this, Feng Jin Yuan quickly moved away from Feng Yu Heng’s matter and saluted toward Xuan Tian Yan once more, saying: “Your Highness has truly overwhelmed this official with favor. For your Highness to come and mourn for my family’s grandmother, this official… is truly unable to repay this kindness.” As he said this, a couple tears truly appeared.
Xuan Tian Yan quickly tried to persuade him and pointed at the carriages filled with things that he had brought, saying to Feng Jin Yuan: “It’s just a small bit of my intention. I hope that lord Feng will not reject it.”
Reject it? Feng Jin Yuan’s eyes were about to exude light. How could he still reject it. But he still had to say the polite formalities. He bowed once more and said: “Your Highness is truly too kind to this official. This official would not be able to repay this kindness.”
The two chatted idly for a while, and Feng Jin Yuan was about to invite Xuan Tian Yan into the manor, but Xuan Tian Yan turned to look at Feng Yu Heng, saying in a kind tone: “County princess, will you not be getting out of the carriage?”
Feng Yu Heng kindly replied to him: “I will, of course, I will. Fifth brother, please go ahead first.” Although she said this, she did not move an inch.
Xuan Tian Yan acknowledged that he did not have the ability to argue with her. Moreover, he had come to visit because he had an important matter to take care of, thus he nodded and followed Feng Jin Yuan into the Feng manor. The things that he had brought were carried into the manor by the servants. After a few days of conducting the funeral, they had finally received a decent mourning gift, and it was sent by a prince. The Feng family finally felt that it had regained some face.
Feng Yu Heng got up and got out of the carriage, ordering Huang Quan: “Bring Xiang Rong back to the county princess’ manor first.” She then said to Ban Zou: “Quickly go to the Yu Palace to deliver the items and return the carriage.”
Ban Zou nodded and whipped the horses to leave. Huang Quan carried Xiang Rong back to the county princess’ manor, as Wang Chuan followed Feng Yu Heng into the Feng manor. The two followed the two ahead over to Peony courtyard’s mourning hall.
In truth, it had to be said that there was a bit of a change to the Emperor’s dislike of Xuan Tian Yan over the past few months. Ever since Feng Yu Heng had whipped Xuan Tian Ye until he could no longer be independent, and ever since the Emperor had sentenced imperial concubine An to death, the fifth prince had changed himself. He no longer lived a life of debauchery. Instead, he developed an interest in cooking. He would frequently send delicious foods that he had made over to the Emperor. At the start, the Emperor would not eat it. Afterward, his resistance began to fade, and he ate some. Slowly, Xuan Tian Yan was able to become involved in some political affairs. Although he did not participate too deeply, it was better than before.
Feng Yu Heng thought about this the entire way until she stepped through the doorway of the mourning hall. Aside from Han shi, all of the Feng manor’s wives were standing vigil. The Cheng shi sisters nodded first to Feng Yu Heng then led An shi and Jin Zhen to pay respects to Xuan Tian Yan.
Xuan Tian Yan quickly stopped them and said with very clear reasoning: “You are in the middle of mourning. There is no need for too much courtesy. This prince has come to light incense for the elder madam.”
After he spoke, he did not any heed to anyone else. He received three sticks of incense from a servant and raised them above his head. He bowed solemnly three times, and the degree of his bows caused Feng Jin Yuan’s heart to tremble. He thought to himself that this fifth prince was too honest. When mourning the family of an official, why was he bowing so deeply?
Xuan Tian Yan’s actions caused the Cheng shi sisters to exchange a glance, and they both furrowed their brows. Cheng Jun man glanced at Feng Yu Hneg and saw that Feng Yu Heng did not have any special reaction. Instead, she had an indifferent and understanding appearance. This allowed them to relax a little.
Sure enough, as everyone expected, after Xuan Tian Yan placed the three sticks of incense into the incense holder, he turned around and looked around the mourning hall and asked: “Why have I not seen the manor’s fourth young miss.”
Feng Jin Yuan’s expression became a little ugly. He stammered a bit and said: “She was injured a little and is resting in her room.”
“What?” Xuan Tian Yan immediately became anxious upon hearing that Feng Fen Dai had become injured. Grabbing hold of Feng Jin Yuan’s arm, he loudly said: “How did she get hurt? Is it serious?”
Feng Jin Yuan did not know how he should reply. Instead, it was Feng Yu Heng that picked up on this conversation- “Fourth sister was beaten by some troublemakers in order to protect grandmother. After that, she was beaten by father. It’s been a few days, yet she is still unable to get out of bed.”
She mentioned this matter casually; however, this caused Xuan Tian Yan to feel shocked. He angrily glared at Feng Jin Yuan: “Lord Feng, why did you beat your own daughter?”
Feng Jin Yuan angrily shot a look at Feng Yu Heng then quickly explained: “Your Highness has misunderstood. There was never such a beating. Do not listen to that girl’s nonsense. Fen Dai only suffered some light injuries. It’s not serious. Because the manor’s children are standing vigil at night, she is not over here during the day.”
Xuan Tian Yan snorted and flicked his sleeve: “Since that is the case, this prince wishes to go and see the fourth young miss. I wonder if lord Feng has any objections?”
“This…” Feng Jin Yuan felt a little troubled. It was not that he did not want Xuan Tian Yan to go. The Feng family had fallen to this degree, and the third prince had become a complete waste after the previous night’s matter. If the fifth prince was able to rush forward and join up with the Feng family at this time, they would be the ones to benefit. But Fen Dai currently had a body covered in injuries. He worried that Xuan Tian Yan would get angry upon seeing them!
Seeing Feng Jin Yuan stand in place with a troubled expression, Xuan Tian Yan helplessly shook his head and said: “Lord Feng, this prince will not trouble you. It does not matter whether the fourth young miss’ injuries are light or severe, either way, this prince came today for two reasons. One is to mourn the elder madam Feng, and second is to come and discuss my engagement to the fourth young miss. We will not bring up the matter of the Feng family canceling the engagement back then, but this prince will say this right now, as long as lord Feng agrees to this engagement, this prince will definitely supply a satisfactory betrothal gift.”
Feng Jin Yuan’s eyes lit up, and he nearly agreed on the spot; however, he still had some sensibility. This place was the mourning hall, and it would not be too good to discuss this sort of thing in front of the matriarch. Thus he took a couple steps back and turned slightly, gesturing for Xuan Tian Yan to go ahead, saying: “Would your Highness please come with this official over to Pine courtyard to talk.”
Xuan Tian Yan did not say much. He just began walking in that direction, while Feng Jin Yuan followed behind him.
Feng Yu Heng watched the two leave then turned to talk to Wang Chuan: “Take a guess, how much will Feng Jin Yuan be able to extort in one go?”
How could Wang Chuan be able to guess, only saying: “He will definitely ask for an exorbitant price.”
But Feng Yu Heng had an understanding. She knew what it was that Feng Jin Yuan currently wanted.
In the Feng manor’s Pine courtyard, Xuan Tian Yan was very frank and said to Feng Jin Yuan: “This prince definitely wants the fourth young miss. Lord Feng, please state a price!”
His words were too direct. Even if Feng Jin Yuan found it a little hard to accept, even if he truly could not accept them, he knew that the fifth prince, Xuan Tian Yan, was the only bit of power that he had right now. Moreover, these daughters were waiting to be sold for a good price. Aside from Feng Yu Heng, whom he could not control, the rest were all chess pieces that he could move as he wished. This included Feng Zi Rui. But since he was the one stating a price, he would need to think carefully about the amount. Feng Jin Yuan turned back around and stomped around the study a little. He truly looked as though he was thinking seriously; however, this caused Xuan Tian Yan to shrug and laugh.
“Lord Feng.” He spoke up, “This prince knows what you are needing the most right now, and I have made preparations to help you. As for the other betrothal gifts, I will do my best to make it a little more extravagant to give face to the fourth young miss. Aside from this, I hope that lord Feng will not hope for too much. A wise man understands and submits to the circumstances and will not take advantage of this prince’s intentions to ask an excessive price. Even a kitten can get impatient. Don’t force this prince to give up.”
Feng Jin Yuan was startled and suddenly realized who he was planning with and what he was planning. It was a prince, and it was the fifth prince that had romantic affairs across the entire capital. On what basis did he believe that just Feng Fen Dai would allow him to have a stranglehold on his heart! If he forced him to give up, he would have drawn water with a bamboo basket.
Thinking like this, he quickly stopped his feet and eagerly said: “Not at all, not at all! Your Highness is thinking too much. How could that be. This official as just… just…” He stammered for a while then gritted his teeth and said: “If your Highness is speaking about this official’s current trouble with this residence then this official will thank your Highness for the help!”
Xuan Tian Yan nodded in satisfaction, “This prince has inquired around. You were unable to provide the deed for this residence and had no choice but to trade it in for a new residence. This is fine. This prince will provide the Feng manor with a residence. The former two will no longer be needed. How is that?”
Feng Jin Yuan rejoiced in his heart, but he still had another request: “This official does not want a new residence. Could your Highness please change that residence for banknotes?”
“Hm?” Xuan Tian Yan was puzzled then immediately recalled the important matters, quickly saying: “You mean to say that even if you did not want the new residence provided by father Emperor, you still could not pay for the current Feng manor? That’s fine, this prince will make up for however much is missing.”
Feng Jin Yuan rubbed his hands, “Are your Highness’ words true?”
Xuan Tian Yan frowned and said: “This prince is asking to marry your daughter. Of course, these words would not be false.”
Feng Jin Yuan let out a long sigh. That rock that had been pressing down on his heart was finally lifted slightly.
Xuan Tian Yan asked him: “Speak, how much do you need?”
Feng Jin Yuan was a little cautious and said: “One million taels.”
TN: Title’s original phrase would translate as “Lion opening its large mouth”