Eldest Madam Ning was a woman, but when she heard that her son was staying for a few more days at home, she did not sense anything weird. She only felt thankful and happy.
"I always wanted you to stay longer, but I was afraid it would delay your work," she said with a smile. "You always have your own will. Since you said you weren't in a rush, then you definitely wouldn't be in a rush."
"I won't be coming home next New Year's, so this year I wanted to stay here a few days more," said Ning Yunzhao.
Next year he would be taking the imperial examinations, beginning his official career as a government official. Because Ning Yan was in Chaozhong, Ning Yunzhao would be dispatched to a post outside the capital for ten years. By then, Ning Yan would have retired and Ning Yunzhao could replace his uncle as an official.
Of course, there were many male heirs in the Ning Family, and the talented ones weren't limited to just Ning Yunzhao. Anyone could obtain the clan's massive support, but they had to rely on their own aptitude in order to pass the official examination.
Eldest Madam Ning nodded.
"When are you leaving?" she asked while picking up the history book.
"I'm setting out on the 3rd day of the 3rd month," he answered.
That was less than a month's time.
"That's a good time. It'll be the season for the flowers to just start blooming," Eldest Madam Ning said with a smile. She paused. "Is that young miss from the Yang Family the same age as your cousin?"
This sentence was completely out of the blue. Ning Yunzhao made an 'oh' sound in reply.
"Probably. I've never seen her, but I've heard Younger Cousin speak of meeting her sometimes, so they're probably of the same age," he answered. He spoke without hesitation, and his expression was without abnormality. Calmly listening, calmly answering. They might as well have been talking about good weather for traveling.
Never seen her.
Eldest Madam Ning understood.
"Your aunt mentioned her several times, and I know that your aunt's grandfather was actually a distant relation of the Yang Family." She sighed. "Obviously, the relationships between families are quite convoluted."
"Officials in Chaozhong are the same," Ning Yunzhao added with a smile. "If you didn't know them before, after sitting down with them and talking, you find that three generations ago or so we were all relatives."
After mother and son bantered for a while, Ning Yunzhao stood up to bid farewell. Eldest Madam Ning waited until he had left before immediately ordering the maidservant next to her.
"That old woman Second Madam will come sniffing for information. Tell her that Yunzhao is not suited to marrying early," she said.
The servant nearly jumped in fright.
Ning Yunzhao was already nineteen. It would not be considered marrying early at this point; this was obviously an excuse for refusal.
Ning Yunyan had said earlier that Ning Yunzhao and Miss Yang were not just a made up story because Ning Yan's wife had really spread this tale in their family, intending to matchmake.
She had started making insinuations again when she came back for the new year. Eldest Madam responded vaguely, but now she had just mentioned Miss Yang, making it clear that she was rejected.
"Is there something unsuitable about the Yang Family's young miss?" The maidservant couldn't stop herself from asking.
Her family background was not lowly, she was supposedly beautiful, and her scholarship was no false rumor. With her upbringing, she should be a perfect wife.
Eldest Madam Ning laughed.
"There is nothing unsuitable about her, she is very well," she said, her expression soft. "It's just that, Yunzhao said he didn't like her."
Otherwise her son would not suddenly delay his return to the capital for several days. It was definitely because his aunt had annoyed him with her matchmaking.
Something that annoyed son would definitely be settled by the mother.
That's why she suddenly spoke about Miss Yang; her son, naturally, understood.
When her son said he had never seen her before, she naturally understood.
Her son did not like it, so how could she force him.
That was her son. For her son to have happiness was what any mother on earth would hope to happen.
Yunzhao did not like this marriage, so she also did not like it.
The maidservant also understood, but she was a little bit against it. A mother couldn't spoil her children too much.
The noble son was an outstanding scholar, but he was still a young man.
Sometimes a young man's ideas were childish and self-serving. Young men might decide they like something in a split second, yet life was long.
And what if the noble son happened to favor an unsuitable lady? Many young men did universally shocking things, becoming a laughingstock.
This was because of an arrogant and willful childhood.
Faced with the maid servant's tactful reminder, Eldest Madam Ning smiled.
"I will definitely like who my son likes," she said, her expression staunchly proud.
Ning Yunzhao sat in his study and sighed lightly, then smiled as he looked at the globe lantern on his table.
"They think too much," he said, jabbing the lantern.
He knew it wasn't strange for a man to be keeping a lantern. His companions had won many lanterns themselves, but those young men's lanterns were proof of their good cheer. After fun times had ended, they would give them to their sisters.
Only he kept his around, sitting on his desk.
Ning Yunyan had come to deliberately make insinuations, naturally because she thought it was a present involving a romantic affair.
And when Mother heard that he was staying longer, she also thought it was because of troubles with marriage.
Actually, it was not so. This lantern was not a present from a romantic affair, and he did not delay his leaving because of marriage troubles.
Ning Yunzhao smiled.
Actually, he was thinking too much too. He still thought that the girl had different intentions. But in the end, he hadn't been able to find out who she was, or even who the owner of the Go lantern was, let alone have someone visit his home with ulterior motives.
News of the Go lantern was obviously erased by someone, but many people speculated that the one responsible for such a large sum out for a gamble was probably the Jinyun Hall.
People avoided talking too much about the Jinyun Hall because they were backed by the Jinyiwei.
When he thought of this, his smile became stronger and brighter, and he sat up straighter.
A lantern was just a lantern; there was no other meaning. They just met, exchanged a few words and a gift. That was all.
The gift he left on his desk. And just like when he was asking about her background, there was no other meaning. He just did it because he wanted to.
He did not see how that Go arrangement was solved on that night, and he wouldn't let his friends tell him. He would solve it on his own.
She was probably the same way.
A domineering spirit with the temper of a young girl. In total, an arrogant person.
She definitely was the same way.
By the 3rd day of the 3rd month, he should have solved this Go arrangement, and he probably would be able to find something out about her. Then he would calmly call on her.
The purpose of calling on her was, naturally, to discuss the Go arrangement. After all, she had beaten him once.
This was a very interesting thing.
Outside the window, the young servant girls and boys were murmuring among themselves.
"... I am not lying to you… tomorrow they are really getting married…"
"... That is too good… from now on she won't be able to bother our noble son…"
Ning Yunzhao knew what they were talking about. Although the people in the house were deliberately trying not to mention it, the news of Miss Jun and the young master of the Fang Family had already spread.
They avoided it so he wouldn't hear of it, and he made no signs that he knew what they were doing.
However, this matter had nothing to do with him to begin with. He never cared, so why should other people?
Ning Yunzhao got up and walked over to the bookshelf, studying the Go arrangement seriously.
Miss Jun did not know that she had become the object of such critical interest, and neither did she know that the lantern had made Tenth Noble Son Ning care so much. For her, she gave that lantern only because of Jun Zhenzhen. After giving it, she and Tenth Noble Son no longer had a relationship.
Yes, Tenth Noble Son Ning's Go skills were pretty good, but that was it. There were many people talented in Go in this world, how could she remember all of them? The person who had broken her Go arrangement and walked away with her silver was not immediately tossed to the back of her mind, however.
She was busy and had many things to do. How would she have time to think about every single person?
Now, she would be married.