No matter the number of people who were shocked or opposed, just like when her mother's life was at stake and she didn't concede to the Cao Family's demands to take part in the Fang Family's business, Old Lady Fang would definitely never change.
Preparations for the Fang Family's young master was a busy affair.
Silver was spent like water. Cartloads of every sort of article imaginable were brought in. No matter if it were real or fake, the Fang Family was steeping in joy and festivity.
However, such cheer was a bit strange. After all, the groom was a useless trash who would live only for a year. The whole marriage was intended to drive away his bad luck.
Lady Fang had forbidden Fang JInxiu from leaving, punishing hert for being disrespectful to Old Lady Fang.
No one in the Fang Family dared to discuss that matter, but even if they woudn't speak of it, this wouldn't stop outsiders. After the news was leaked, the buzz surrounding this marriage intensified. However, the viewpoints on this event were split into two camps.
The first camp said that the Fang Family was bullying the orphan girl, taking a good girl and marrying her to a dying cripple. No one wanted to be a widow for their whole life. And Miss Jun had nowhere else to go, seeing as the Fang Family were her only relatives. So they were twisting her to their purposes.
It was even said that Miss Jun was being imprisoned by the Fang Family.
This was behavior that other people despised.
"Magistrate Jun was utterly devoted to the country and to the people. His bones are yet cold, and his only daughter is already treated like this by her tiger and wolf relatives. Where is Heaven's law? Morality? Law of the country?"
"The Fang Family is a merchant family, yet they dare to degrade an official's family so. This is indeed reckless."
"An old fellow like me should go report this to the authorities. Otherwise, who would dare learn to read, to devote one's lifeblood to the country if after you die, you cannot die without fear, fear that you left behind destitute orphans who will be bullied so."
The scholarly families of Yangcheng were filled with righteous indignation. They actually wanted to write a petition to the officials, but at the same time, there was another point of view on the situation.
"Who doesn't know what kind of reputation this Miss Jun has in Yangcheng? How could she be suffering? Rather, she is so bossy and domineering."
"At first she wanted to rely on her senior's old friendship with the Ning Family to marry into the Ning Family, but after getting refused, she extorted 5000 taels of silver from them. This is simply unsightly conduct. Her senior's face has been lost."
"Think about it. If she didn't want to, who could make her marry into the Fang Family? When she fought with the daughters of the Fang Family, she was the first to run to the officials and report about it. Lady Fang almost kneeled, begging her to return."
"It is quite obvious how she regards the Fang Family. Anyway, Young Master Fang is a dying cripple. If she snatches the position as the lady of the Fang Family, then she can adopt a son. Then the Fang Family will be hers."
This viewpoint was common among the wealthy. How could Miss Jun be a bullied, penniless orphan? Obviously she was taking advantage of others.
Then naturally, the opinions that her father was devoted to the state and that she was a destitute orphan grew weak. What she wanted is what she got, otherwise people were bullying her.
The wealthy merchants each expressed their sympathy. Being entangled with such a girl, the Fang Family had truly fallen into bad luck.
Talk like that grew more popular. In order to find out whether their opinions were correct, everybody looked for more evidence, so the nasty business of the past between the Fang Family and Miss Jun resurfaced. Naturally, exaggerations of the true situation flew through the streets.
"It seems that our measures to protect ourselves have taken a different turn," commented Lady Fang. "The reputation of the Fang Family and Zhenzhen have taken damage."
Old Lady Fang remained stoic.
"Where there is no wind, there is no waves. Where there is no profit, no one wakes up early," she said. "If there wasn't someone who didn't desire this outcome, who would support all of this poking into people's business."
Lady Fang went silent for a moment.
"Is it those people?" she asked quietly. "They don't even want to see Chengyu get married?"
"It shouldn't be," said Miss Jun suddenly, sitting off to the side.
Old Lady Fang and Lady Fang turned to look at her.
"This sort of defaming is something your enemy would disdain to do," said Miss Jun. "They prefer to take lives."
This sort of dramatic speech would indeed make people's hearts stop for a heartbeat.
Old Lady Fang and Lady Fang were speechless for a moment, while Miss Jun seemed to be entranced with her own words, lost in thought.
It was true. The whole time, besides the rumor of the curse on the heirs of the Fang Family, they had enjoyed a favorable reputation. The shortened lives of the males of the Fang Family were just a pretense for all the misfortune they had suffered.
Up until now, the business seemed to be going swimmingly. It looked like the enemy did not intend to harm the Fang Family's reputation or business.
"Interesting," said Miss Jun.
"What's interesting?" asked Lady Fang. "Say, you know who did it?"
"It's the Ning Family. They want to give us a bad reputation."
Ah, the Ning Family.
Old Lady Fang and Lady Fang nodded, and also smiled bitterly as they shook their heads.
"This is nothing," said Miss Jun, taking out a piece of paper. "These are the drugs that Little Cousin needs. Avail of the impending marriage to stock up on these items and mix in some other kind of medicines too, so that even a careful person wouldn't take notice of it."
Fang Chengyu was already like a pot steeped with many medicines. Buying medicine for his marriage was not a strange thing. For his marriage, he would need these purchased medicines to support him through the ritual kneeling during the ceremony.
Old Lady Fang and Lady Fang grew excited.
"Zhenzhen, there really is a medicine?" asked Lady Fang.
Could it be that Chengyu could actually be cured?
"Of course," said Miss Jun with a smile. "I can't cure him without medicine. After all, I am not a deity."
She seldom made jokes, but Old Lady Fang and Lady Fang did not laugh. Their expressions were complicated.
Until now, they had not truly believed that Jun Zhenzhen would honestly want to cure Fang Chengyu's illness, not to mention actually curing him.
Today, they came to her to talk about some of the rumors outside. They only repeated them, wanting to see her reaction. They wanted to stir her emotions, see what she felt about being a household name.
But she seemed to feel neither angry nor offended. She did not cry. Her expression remained calm. Instead, she had analyzed with them who was behind the issue.
What she said was also very reasonable.
She was really not as she was before.
Old Lady Fang could not help but look at the girl sitting in front of her. She sat with a straight back, her eyes calm and warm.
Could she truly cure Chengyu?
Old Lady Fang looked at the paper in her hand and the numerous names of medicinal ingredients written on it.
"Okay." She put the paper away and stood up.
Miss Jun sent them off respectfully, watching the mother- and daughter-in-law leave.
Old Lady Fang passed the written medicinal ingredients to Lady Fang. Lady Fang accepted it with tremulous excitement.
"Should we find doctors to look at it?" she asked quietly.
"Ask when the household is buying the drugs," said Old Lady Fang.
Lady Fang naturally knew how to do it. She made a sound of agreement as she put away the paper and asked for leave. Although the talk outside would not truly affect the Fang Family, they should still take precautions. She had many things to do.
Old Lady Fang planned to take a break for a time and summoned her personal servant.
"Find samples of Miss Jun's handwriting," she ordered.
The maidservant was stunned for a moment, but agreed without a word.
It was fine that it was very noisy outside. It was fine that preparations for the marriage were underway. None of them would have any effect on Miss Jun. She carried on with her work and rest as she wanted to. However, very soon, Lady Fang went to find her.
"This medicinal item is something the pharmacy does not recognize," she said, pointing to an ingredient on the list.
Nian Bing frowned slightly. She recalled the medicinal ingredients had just been discovered. Doctors in the south had just started trying it out, but it definitely would not be in common usage in the north.
The drugstores should have this ingredient, just that the name might be different.
"I will go find it," she said. "The name is different. When I see it, I'll know it."
This was the only way, so Lady Fang nodded.
"You are to be married. Going out to choose things you like is within reason," she said. She turned to call people, "Get the three young misses…"
When she said this, she stopped.
Third Miss, Fang Jinxiu, couldn't accompany her. If these two people went out, they would fight and lose face.
"Let Eldest Young Miss and Second Young Miss accompany Miss Jun for an outing."