Published at 24th of December 2020 02:48:01 PM
However, when he realized that Zhou Zixu only had his mind and soul on improving his family’s business, Fang Zizhen decided to pass on this fellow as a prospective marriage candidate . He definitely didn’t want his future son-in-law to only be preoccupied with the family business, leaving his daughter alone to live a lonely life in the inner courtyard . Furthermore, perhaps the fellow only saw his daughter’s abilities and talents as a way to further the family business . Neither of these scenarios was something he wanted for his daughter!
At the time, his daughter might have been too young and not mature enough to consider the relationship she could have with the opposite sex . He rejoiced in the fact that she hadn’t been entranced by that fellow’s good looks and gentle treatment of her . Naturally, this also couldn’t be separated from the fact that the tyrannical Royal Prince Yang had clung onto her, which put out the Zhou Family’s youngster’s slight flame of desire .
Fang Zizhen felt his head ache again once he thought about Royal Prince Yang . In his opinion, Royal Prince Yang wasn’t the best choice of husband for his daughter despite the fact that he was the youth with the most promising future at court . First of all, that fellow had an explosive temperament . The prince was like an unsteady cannon that could explode at any time .
After all, didn’t the prince almost completely destroy Official Wu’s residence earlier? If it wasn’t for the fact that the prince’s two loyal bodyguards had given their all to stop him, then it was likely that the whole Wu Family would have perished at his hands! His daughter had a weak figure with slender arms and legs, so she absolutely wouldn't be able to survive one blow from him .
Even if his daughter could stop him from bursting into violence, wasn’t the fellow just too good looking as well? Was it really alright for an adult man to be more beautiful and better looking than most women? If this guy didn’t have his violent and temperamental reputation, Fang Zizhen was willing to bet that almost all of the young maidens in the capital would be willing to go up to the guy and stick themselves to him! If his daughter ended up choosing Royal Prince Yang as her husband, wouldn’t she have to guard him from wolves every day and have to try to stop other women from throwing themselves at him?
Argh! The emperor was truly too much . Why did he have to send a little girl out to handle official work and also allow that large wolf, Royal Prince Yang, go along with her? The capital already had many rumors swirling about how Royal Prince Yang had his eye on Royal Princess Jinan . If this news also came out, who knew what the rumormongers would spin this story into?!
Hmph! Regardless, he couldn’t allow any of this to benefit that brat, Royal Prince Yang! If that guy refused to treat his daughter well and keep her as his one and only, Fang Zizhen was willing to raise his daughter for the rest of her life rather than allow her to be tormented at the royal prince’s residence!
That being said, it was not as if Royal Prince Yang was the only suitor available for his daughter . The second young master of Duke Ronggu’s Estate was cultured and refined, and it was obvious the man had a gentle temperament . From what he had observed, it seemed as if Second Young Master Ning had some good feelings towards his daughter .
Furthermore, there was his martial teacher’s grandson, Zhao Han . He had a handsome appearance and was also childhood friends with Xiaocao . Currently, that youth was doing quite well in Tanggu . By relying on his own abilities, Zhao Han was already the head of a battalion there . As for the large and small military campaigns at sea, he always managed to complete the missions in a satisfactory manner .
Fang Zizhen was in charge of the garrison at the harbor, so he was very close to where Zhao Han was stationed . In addition, because he had a close relationship with his martial teacher, he had always kept an eye out on this young marital nephew of his . He was quite satisfied with the youth’s performance . Furthermore, the Zhao Family had a family rule where they didn’t take concubines, which made Fang Zizhen even more satisfied with the youngster .
All in all, his daughter didn’t have to worry about not being able to marry someone . Thus, she didn’t need to place all of her hopes on the crooked tree that was Royal Prince Yang!!
Yu Xiaocao obviously didn’t know that her godfather had gone through all of the marriageable young men in the capital in the blink of an eye, weighing them to see if they were suitable and finding Royal Prince Yang quite lacking . She was currently preoccupied with her own thoughts as she was trying to figure out just what sort of wedding gift she should give Third Young Master Zhou, who was her good business partner .
Figuring out the intricacies in a relationship was not one of her strengths . In her opinion, things were much simpler in modern times . When friends got married, all you had to do was give them some wedding money . If you were closer to the person, you gave more money . If you were not as close, you gave less . This saved the hassle of trying to figure out what was a suitable gift to give to the other person!
“Daughter . . . just what are you thinking about now?” Fang Zizhen noticed that Xiaocao was frowning and had a ‘depressed’ expression on her face, so he felt his heart drop . Was it possible that his daughter had finally realized she liked that youngster surnamed Zhou after she saw the wedding invitation…
General Fang, you’re going down the wrong rabbit hole!
Yu Xiaocao’s frown became even more severe and her entire face scrunched up as she sighed, “I’m trying to figure out just what sort of wedding gift is appropriate to give to Third Young Master Zhou ah!”
When Fang Zizhen heard this, he felt his heart completely relax . He grinned and spread his hands open, “Your godmother is the one who’s in charge of these matters . Why don’t you ask her ah?”
Lady Fang smiled ruefully and leveled a look at her husband before she said to Xiaocao, “Gift giving requires paying attention to reciprocity . Last time, during your coming of age ceremony, Third Young Master Zhou not only took on all of the banquet’s expenditures but he also gifted you an expensive hair ornament . This time, you can select a gift that is of equal value to give back to him . It is best that you tailor the gift to his personal likes . For example, if he likes antiquities, then you can give him some valuable curiosities . Or if he likes more tangible goods, then you can give him gold and jade . . . if you truly don’t have any good ideas, after you rest for a whole day, I can take you out to some jewelry shops to take a look . ”
“Alright, then I’ll have to rely on you, Godmother!” Yu Xiaocao nodded her head and finally felt as if this headache was over . If all else failed, she could always commission an artisan to craft a golden money tree to give to Third Young Master Zhou . As a businessman, he likely cared about good omens .
In order to get back to the capital faster, Xiaocao and the others had taken advantage of the good weather and made good speed to get back here, camping along the way . After she conversed a bit with her godmother and godfather, she finally felt her exhaustion catch up to her . Lady Fang hurriedly sent her back to her own courtyard and the servants there had already prepared hot water and were just waiting for her . Yu Xiaocao enjoyed a comfortable hot bath and ate a simple lunch before she immediately fell asleep . She slept until the latter half of the evening and it was only the growling of her hungry stomach that woke her up .
Lady Fang had already ordered the servants to bring back dinner for her and it was quickly heated up in her small kitchen . After she hastily stuffed her stomach full, Yu Xiaocao quickly went back to sleep . The next day, when Royal Prince Yang came over to visit, she was still happily snoring away on her warm and comfortable kang bed .
Fang Zizhen had finished up his affairs at the harbor and was currently on his year end break . Thus, he received Royal Prince Yang at the outer study and was currently talking circles around the other man . The conversation somehow never seemed to touch upon his daughter . Zhu Junyang was helpless under the other man’s tactics and could only use official matters as an excuse to bring the topic to where he wanted, “Yesterday when I saw the emperor, he was quite interested in Cao’er’s special recipe to bait horses over . He wanted me to get the recipe from her so he could take a look at it . So…”
“Your Highness, please conduct yourself with propriety! In the future, the name ‘Cao’er’ should not be easily said around other people . In the past, when my daughter was still young, it wasn’t necessary to observe these customs around her . However, she has already reached a marriageable age, so, in the future, you need to be much more cautious when speaking about her!” Although Fang Zizhen didn’t make his dislike of the prince extremely obvious, he wasn’t going to make it easy for this fellow who clearly didn’t have pure thoughts towards his daughter .
Zhu Junyang would have never had expected that before he could endure difficulties from his future father-in-law, he would first have to endure the pickiness of his future godfather-in-law . However, he refused to retreat from this matter and smiled in a good natured way, “General Fang, that lass Cao’er has already agreed to become engaged to me after the New Year passes . Thus, there’s no need for us to be too concerned about propriety now . ”
“Who agreed to allow you two to become engaged? This is called making a private deal behind the parents’ backs! My daughter is still young and quite immature, but you, Royal Prince Yang, should understand how things are done around here, right? If you want to want to become betrothed to Cao’er, don’t you need to make sure your elders also approve of this? You’re being much too negligent, right? Is it because you think my Cao’er has no backing nor power behind her? I’ve never seen such a bully like you before!! That’s not okay, I need to go to Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate and have a good talk with your lord father!”
When Fang Zizhen heard this, he immediately exploded! This stinky brat was flaunting his stunning good looks in order to seduce his daughter and even obtain her consent for marriage . This was showing the Yu and Fang Families that he wasn’t afraid of them at all!
“General Fang, please calm down! Please don’t tack on the crime of going behind our parents onto us! The relationship between me and Cao’er didn’t just happen out of nowhere . In the past, when the lass was still young, I had privately contacted Uncle Yu to see what he thought about betrothing her to me in hopes that I could obtain his approval . However, Uncle Yu had said at the time that the little lass was in charge of her own life and that any marriage for her needed her consent before it could go forward . I spent a lot of time and effort over the past few years in order to have the lass finally agree to marry me . If you don’t trust me, then you should at least trust your daughter’s judgement . When has she ever gone wrong?” Zhu Junyang knew that the relationship between Yu Xiaocao and Fang Zizhen was of the same calibur as the one she had with her biological father . Thus, he patiently explained all of the details to the older man .
“I naturally trust my own daughter! However . . . parents and matchmakers should be the one to decide a child’s marriage . It is out of the ordinary for the two of you, at such a young age, to make such a momentous decision! This decision cannot hold as neither myself nor Brother Yu have given our permission yet . If you want to trick our daughter away from us, we definitely won’t make it easy for you!!” Fang Zizhen slapped the table forcefully causing all of the trinkets and other items to bounce at least a foot in the air .
Zhu Junyang hurriedly tried to placate his future godfather-in-law, “Uncle Fang, please relax . I will absolutely go through all of the needed etiquettes and customs for this matter . I absolutely won’t have anyone say a bad word about the little lass . After a month has passed after the New Years, I will have my lord father come to your residence to propose marriage with the three letters and six rites . We absolutely will not shirk one bit on anything on our part . Furthermore, I will absolutely follow the emperor’s recommendation and will wait until the little lass turns eighteen before I marry her . So what do you…”
As soon as he heard that the prince was willing to wait until his daughter turned eighteen to marry her, the indignation within Fang Zizhen’s heart settled down perceptively . Although the court had recommended that women wait until they were eighteen and men wait until they turned twenty to marry, there was still the pressure of the old customs from long ago . Change didn’t happen in a short period of time . Within the commoners, most girls still got engaged and married as soon as they passed their coming of age ceremony .
Royal Prince Yang was actually older than Cao’er by seven to eight years and many of the other young lords his age in the capital had long been married with a herd of children around them . Despite that, the prince was willing to wait patiently for another two years . Fang Zizhen naturally felt the young man’s sincerity from that .
The uncomfortable feeling he had in his heart after finding out that his daughter had been snatched away had been slightly ameliorated . Fang Zizhen still asked the youth suspiciously, “Tell me the truth . This time, when you guys went to the borders, did you take advantage of Cao’er in any way? After all, why else would she so easily agree to marry you? My Cao’er is such a sweet and obedient child so how could she make such a momentous decision without obtaining the consent of her elders?”
Zhu Junyang naturally wouldn’t tell the older man that the two of them had already hugged and kissed each other . Otherwise, his future godfather-in-law would definitely explode in anger and start throwing the stool he was sitting on at him . He seriously replied, “Uncle Fang, just what sort of man do you think I am? This time, Cao’er had brought along four maidservants along with her to complete this mission . The maid, Wutong, was especially diligent . Every day she kept a close eye on us . Even if I had the desire to take advantage of your daughter, I never had the opportunity with the maids along . What do you think?”