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"She has a marriage contract?"

When Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning returned to bring the news, the originally warm and relaxed Eldest Madam Ning's sitting room turned nervous.

That girl, who was always seen as a troublemaker, actually brought out a marriage contract.

With a marriage contract, the girl could no longer be said to be an annoying troublemaker.

The three girls in the room were obviously very startled.

"It's definitely forged," said Ning Yunyan.

The marriage contract had the names of three generations of the male side, and moreover, it had Ning Yunzhao's eight birth characters[1]. These things were something that the Fang Family, which was also located in Yangcheng, could not ask around about, let alone the Jun Family, who were from Runan.

Although, it was not worth mentioning now, but under the principle of 'know thine enemy', half a year ago Ning Family had concluded an investigation on Jun Family. It was only natural when a person from the Fang Family, with which they had had no dealings previously, came claiming that their son-in-law's daughter had a marriage contract with their Ning Family.

The Jun Family was native to Henan Province, Cai Prefecture, Runan County, Pingzhang Town. From generation to generation, they had operated a medicine hall and have practiced medicine benevolently and charitably. They were quite well-known in Ping Zhang Town.

Because they were so kind and charitable, the Jun Family was historically poor, and the males of their family weak-bodied. Miss Jun's father, Jun Yingwen, was the only one in three generations to not study medicine. Because he had been bright and academically successful since he was small, he went into imperial examinations for his career.

Jung Yingwen was an upright official who loved the common people. He continued the practice of charity and benevolence of the Jun Family. Yet, when he was trying to produce heirs for the Jun Family, he could only obtain a daughter. Even when his wife of the Fang Family let him take in two concubines, he could not get any more children.

Jun Yingwen's wife from the Fang Family died of an illness when Miss Jun was ten years old. Jun Yingwen did not remarry, but traveled away to take a new post with Miss Jun and his two concubines. He did not imagine that when Miss Jun was just thirteen years old, he would become exhausted from overwork, catch an illness, and die, leaving Miss Jun as the only child of the Jun Family.

Since Old Master Jun had died, Miss Jun could only seek shelter with her maternal Fang Family in Yangcheng.

How would this kind of poor family with broken incense sticks[2] have the skill to snoop into the Ning Family's affairs, and dare to bring out a cheap trick like a forged marriage contract?

Even the rich and imposing Fang Family could not.

The three madams in the room did not pay attention to Ning Yunyan's words.

The marriage contract was definitely real.

"Then, since it is like that, we can only do this," sighed Eldest Madam Ning lightly. "I will go speak to Mother."

"Even if the marriage contract is genuine, we definitely do not need to recognize the marriage," said Ning Yunyan anxiously. "Who said that if you wrote a marriage contract you have to get married? There are plenty of people who have sent betrothal gifts and then backed out of the marriage. Why do we have to be afraid of her?"

Mother's personality was very gentle and was always afraid of offending someone. However, Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning were not like this. Ning Yunyan's words were naturally directed to them.

"Tenth Elder Brother is my blood-related brother, but he is the face of our Ning Family. If he has this kind of marriage, he will definitely be laughed at by the other brothers and sisters. Who would want this kind of woman as our sister-in-law?"

These words were criticizing Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning, saying that because Ning Yunzhao was not their son, they did not care about any trouble.

As someone of the younger generation, Ning Yunyan was too lacking in matters. Eldest Madam Ning immediately pulled at her face.

"Yanyan! Shut your mouth!" she said.

Ning Yunyan was arrogant and willful. To her mother's rebuke she pulled a displeased face.

"I will not shut my mouth. Why are we afraid of her? She is nothing. If she wants to threaten us, put on an act of committing suicide, then just let her die," she spoke viciously. "This great Ning Family is scared of a mole, cricket and ants[3] like her dying?"

It was not a pretty sight to see someone so young throwing around words of death so lightly. Eldest Madam Ning angrily made her personal servant woman pull Ning Yunyan away, and she also apologized to Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning.

"You do not need to mind this matter, I will resolve everything," she said decisively.

Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning stood where they were, without moving. They were not angry because of what Ning Yunyan had said and did not immediately go rebuke the girl who did not know the immensity of heaven of earth. They also weren't indignant because they were pushed aside by Eldest Madam Ning so that she could resolve the issue. They simply stood where they were with strange expressions on their faces.

"Eldest Sister-in-law, no. She agreed to retract the marriage," said Fourth Madam Ning.

Eldest Madam Ning was stunned. Ning Yunyan, who was being pulled away by the maidservant, also stopped in her tracks. For a time, she was unable to recover her senses.

"She agreed to retract the marriage?" Ning Yunyan could not help but ask again, "She really did?"

"Yes," Third Madam Ning confirmed, nodding. There were still traces of surprise on her face from when she had first heard it, and she was somewhat at a loss. "However, she has a condition."

A condition?

"So she's actually playing this scheme!" Nin Yunyan shouted. She pulled away from the maidservant. "Mother, take no notice of her."

Eldest Madam Ning did not pay attention to her.

"What condition does she have?" she asked directly.

"Do you know why Old Master Ning and my grandfather wrote the marriage contract?" asked Miss Jun.

She spoke slowly, her voice ever gentle, making people unable to resist calming down.

An idea flashed through Third Madam Ning's mind, and she awoke from her stupor.

How could this kind of girl be the arrogant, vulgar and ignorant annoyance that Ning Yunyan had talked about? However, Third Madam Ning was relieved. Girls were quick to criticize. All of them thought that they were the best ones among the heaven. Except them, who were immortals, other girls were demons and monsters.

"Young Miss Jun, I have already said that Father-in-law had never spoken of this matter," said Third Madam Ning.

"He never mentioned the favor of saving his life?" asked Miss Jun. "So Old Master Ning was that kind of person."

Third Madam Ning choked up.

It could be said that not mentioning the engagements was to grow fat eating one's words[4]. But to not admit anything about the favor of saving one's life was a violation of justice.

Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning, of course, could not and would not let Old Master Ning be spoken of this way.

"Father, while he was alive, has spoken highly of Doctor Jun's medical skills on more than one occasion, and how he had saved him from death," said Fourth Madam Ning.

She heavily emphasized the medical skills to ensure that the girl didn't forget that her grandfather was a doctor. Curing sick people was his duty.

"I heard that your family passed down medical skills for generations. Presumably, they have saved countless of lives. So do tell, how many people have pledged to marry someone because of this lifesaving favor?"Third Madam Ning asked while smiling coldly.

Young Miss Jun smiled.

"I have not spent much time there. I would accompany my parents home to Pingzhang at Chinese New Year and other festivals. I remember walking the streets. When the villagers heard that I was Doctor Jun's granddaughter, they would treat me amiably. Some of them would give me freshly laid chicken eggs from their families. While others freshly steamed flower cakes. A number would hand me their new insoles to me, feeling that they were unpresentable, giving them to me with a shy but sincere smile."

Her voice was soft and delicate, not making people anxious, but rather unable to help but listen in more closely.

"My grandfather treated diseases and saved lives. If the patients had money, he took it, but if they didn't have money he didn't want any. He didn't do those things to get paid back, but rather, he knew his duty as a doctor. And for those people he saved, if they had money, it was their duty to pay, and if they didn't have money, it was their duty to be grateful and respectful."

Isn't this the same as saying that Old Master Ning was not doing his duty?

Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning immediately lost their calm and were angry once more.

This little girl seemed to be soft and fragile, so how did her words curse people without obscenity?

Right now they believed in Ning Yunyan's description. This Miss Jun really did not give people a good impression.

"Yes, he should have given money, and you should have taken it. The marriage of a family's children is a major event. It isn't chicken eggs, flower cakes, or shoe soles, but part of a person's destiny for their whole life," Fourth Madam Ning sneered.

Young Miss Jun looked at her.

"Your family's Old Master did not give money," she said.

Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning were stunned.

"How, how is that possible!" Fourth Madam Ning shouted out with a stammer.

"My grandfather said it himself," said Miss Jun without any hesitation. "If you don't have money, then we won't take money. It was your family's Old Master who said that his family had money, but he had just been robbed. Because of this, he asked to wait for him to return home and he would send the money then. My grandfather explained it to him three times that he didn't need to. However, your family's Old Master did not want to be lacking in sincerity. He knew that my parents had just gotten married, so he took the initiative himself to promise their children to marriage."

Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning were dumbstruck when they heard it.

For real?

Old Master Ning had never before explained the concrete details of this matter, so how could they know if the girl wasn't just spewing some random nonsense?

Could Old Master Ning have truly done this?

Young Miss Jun caressed the marriage contract on the table.

"You know that this is the marriage contract for this marriage. But since you do not want to recognize it and give your family's son to me,you are in my debt." She pushed the marriage contract forward, pressing on it with her green-onion[5] like fingers. "If you can't give the person, then give the money."

If you don't give the person, then give the money.

What did she mean?

"You can exchange the money for saving his life for the marriage contract. Then no one will owe anyone anything," said Miss Jun.

Third Madam Ning was still in some shock.

"How much money?" Third Madam Ning ended up asking without thinking.

Young Miss Jun raised her eyes to look at her, her expression calm.

"Two thousand taels," she said.

[1] Eight birth characters are part of the Chinese horoscope.

[2] Family with broken incense sticks is a saying in Chinese meaning that the family has no male heirs.

[3] Mole, cricket and ants refers to tiny individuals that have no power.

[4] Grow fat eating one's words means to not fulfill your promises.

[5] Green-onion like means long and tender.

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