The Empress smiled as she let Luo Xue Yan seat but waved Shen Miao over, indicating for Shen Miao to come forward.
Shen Miao went up to the front and the Empress look up and down to size her up. She smiled and said to Consort Dong Su, "What a tidy and complete person."
Luo Xue Yan was somewhat restless and only wished to grab Shen Miao and step out of this Palace doors. It was just that as an official, there are too many considerations. She was not clear what the Empress was planning but as a mother she had an intuition, especially towards people who attempt to use one's children.
"How old this year?" The Empress asked.
"Replying to Your Ladyship's words, this official's daughter is sixteen." Shen Miao answered.
The Empress smiled and took Shen Miao's hands, "When BenGong is in the Palace, one would always hear that General Shen's daughter had both looks and talents. Previously one had saw in the Palace banquet before and felt extremely pleased. Thinking that these days are filled with leisure, one called Shen Furen to bring Young Lady Shen to the Palace to take a look." She sighed, "Sixteen and look so intelligent. One do not know which family's gentleman is fortunate to marry Young Lady Shen."
Luo Xue Yan's heart thumped and her hands that was hanging by her side clenched. Shen Miao's heart jumped but she had understood more or less the Empress purpose of summoning them into the Palace.
Consort Dong Su also smiled, "Isn't it so? So beautiful in appearance and well behaved. One is unable to find a single arrogance all over. It is indeed rare to see such a young lady."
"Shen Furen, does Young Lady Shen have a marriage match?" The Empress asked with a smile.
Luo Xue Yan's heart was up in knots but she quickly replied, "One not afraid of Your Ladyship's laughing. Lately one is looking at suitable young masters to match with one's daughter." If the Imperial family had this intention then one fear that one had already inquired about Shen Miao's matter very clearly. One dared not hide anything else it would be a crime of fooling the Imperial family.
"So it is like this." The Empress's smile was deeper, "How about BenGong being the matchmaker for Young Lady Shen?"
"No." Luo Xue Yan did not even think before opening her mouth. Seeing that the Empress' expression had gotten unkind, she then explained, "One's daughter is still young and this official cannot bear to marry her off and still want her to stay a few more years."
When the Empress heard of it, she smiled, "Shen Furen's words are not right. It is always said that daughters cannot be retained as one would become enemies. You kept on dragging and not let Young Lady Shen marry, in the future Young Lady Shen will blame you for it. Is that correct Young Lady Shen?”
Shen Miao took a look at the Empress and smiled, "This official's daughter also wish to accompany by Mother's side." She did not give any face to the Empress at all.
The Empress's smile was no longer refreshing. She stared at Shen Miao as she did not know if Shen Miao had no brains thus she dared to be so arrogant or did she slap her face on purpose. Seeing such a female like this become her daughter-in-law, in a short moment, the Empress's heart was not happy at all.
It was Consort Dong Su who saw that the atmosphere was so rigid that she smiled warmly, "Shen Furen and Young Lady Shen has deep feelings as mother and daughter that one is so envious. But…" Her topic of conversation changed, "A female must be married. Moreover even if one marry, it does not means that mother's and daughter's feelings cannot be deep anymore."
These words were said to help smooth things over but unfortunately Luo Xue Yan and Shen Miao did not carry on Consort Dong Su's conversation.
Consort Dong Su was somewhat flabbergasted in her heart. Previously when Shen Miao was obsessed with Fu Xiu Yi, Consort Dong Su thought that Shen Miao was an idiotic female without brains but after taking a look at her, she felt that this was not true. She felt that Shen Miao had some intelligence and knew the weight of matters but who knew that today's visit, she was really birthed by Luo Xue Yan. Both mother and daughter were the same, did not take soft or hard approaches.
The Empress did not seem to be accustomed to be close with another, especially when the other's attitude was not at all warm. However today she only wanted to wear it in, so that the Shen family could make preparations. Actually the Empress did not care what the Shen family's attitude was. No matter how big Shen Xin's guts were or how much he loved his daughter, he would not go against the Imperial edict. No matter how big one's arm was, it would not exceed one's thighs. Under the Imperial power, everyone would bow down.
After chatting some more sentences of not warm nor cold words, she let Luo Xue Yan and Shen Miao return back.
On the way back, Luo Xue Yan did not say a single word at all. Shen Miao was also thinking about her matter. This kind of heavy and silence atmosphere scared Jing Zhe and Gu Yu as they thought that something happened.
Upon returning to the Shen mansion, Shen Xiu and Luo Ling had also just returned from the ministry and asked them why did the Empress summon them to the Palace for. Luo Xue Yan answered them vaguely before pulling Shen Xin back to the room.
As soon as they entered the room, Luo Xue Yan told Shen Xin about what the Empress said to her in the Palace today. At the end of it she asked, "I guessed that Empress' intention was to bestow marriage for Jiao Jiao. What can be done now?"
Shen Xin's entire face sunk down, "Bestow marriage? She is my daughter, so on what grounds do they bestow marriage? It is due to our support that Jiao Jiao grew up so on what basis does others have the power to make the decision on Jiao Jiao's marriage?"
"I guess the Empress wants to let Jiao Jiao marry the Crown Prince." Luo Xue Yan said. "Today there are both hidden and outright repeat mentions of the Crown Prince's health improving. This is not good. The Crown Prince already have a Crown Prince Consort so if Jiao Jiao marries over, at the most she would be the Secondary Consort. A Secondary Consort is only a concubine with a little higher status. I am not willing to let Jiao Jiao marry over and still have to serve tea to another female and live under other's nose. Thinking about this, my heart started to be anxious. Moreover, so what if the Crown Prince's position and character is good? I do not dare to pass Jiao Jiao over to him with his health."
"No matter which Prince it is, Jiao Jiao cannot marry to them." There was an unexplainable foul air in Shen Xin's chest that he simply slammed his fist on the table, making the cup shake a little.
"You are afraid that when Jiao Jiao marries over, our entire Shen family would be involved in the turmoil of the fight for the throne?" Luo Xue Yan said, "Correct, with the current situation, these people are like the wine-lover's heart which was not on the cup. Once one is related with the Imperial family, the Shen family would not be able to run away in the future."
"It is not because of this reason." Shen Xin gave a long sigh, "The sons of the Imperial family are all inconstant in love and has groups of concubine and consorts. If Jiao Jiao married in, she will not be happy. So what if the Crown Prince becomes the Emperor in the future, so what if he is healthy, there is three palaces, six courtyards and twelve consorts. There isn't enough rain for everywhere. I do not want Jiao Jiao to live that kind of life. Moreover, just like you say, they are not truly sincere in marrying Jiao Jiao. My son-in-law does not need to be a Prince or Prime Minister in the making and do not need to be wearing embroidered brocade hat and marten coat but he must treat Jiao Jiao with all his thoughts and efforts. If one cannot do that, then even the Emperor of Heavens would not do."
When Shen Miao, who was at the door eavesdropping, heard this sentence, a warm feeling enveloped her heart. In this world, there were still loved ones who would support her unconditionally and willing to offend the bigwigs but not willing to let her suffer a single grievance.
One only heard Luo Xue Yan speaking again, "Exactly. Since it is so, Jiao Jiao must not marry into the Eastern Palace. It is just that once the Imperial edict, it would be bad if the matter is settled. So now what should be done?"
Shen Xine frowned and thought about it, "Before the Imperial edict comes, quickly marry Jiao Jiao off. It is just that in such a short time, it is difficult to be engaged. Moreover one would not know the other party's character. No matter what, today I will get people to look for some talents and if there are ones with good character and Jiao Jiao does not dislike, then just settle it down." Shen Xin said, "In short, one must not let Jiao Jiao marry into the Imperial family."
One could not describe the inexplicable feeling in Shen Miao's heart. The voices in the room had gotten softer, and it should be discussing about which youths of which families are within reasonable limits. Shen Miao turned around and was just about to return to her room when she saw Shen Qiu and Luo Ling standing behind. Both of them were frowning and one did not know when they had been standing here and heard how much.
Shen Qiu pulled Shen Miao along as he walked away.
They walked directly to Shen Miao's courtyard and after Shen Qiu and Luo Ling entered the room and let the maids leave, they closed the doors and said, "Younger Sister, the Empress want to bestow a marriage for you to the Crown Prince?"
It seemed that they had heard it and since Shen Miao had no intention to conceal it, she nodded her head.
Shen Qiu slammed his fist onto the tale and clenched his teeth, "That's going too far."
Shen Miao instead laughed, "How many people wished to climb up the high branches of the Eastern Palace but why when it reached to you, it has become bullying? Eldest Brother's sight is just too high. Like so, everyone in Ding capital will not be able to enter your eyes."
Shen Qiu said in a bad mood, "Jiao Jiao, how can your heart be this big? I am worried for you but instead you laugh at me."
Luo Ling looked at Shen Miao and said warmly, "How does Younger Biao Sister view this matter?"
Shen Miao shrugged her shoulders, "Do one's best and listen to Heaven's will."
"Younger Biao Sister doesn't object?" Luo Ling's voice was odd.
"Father and Mother had already looked for a way out for me." Shen Miao said it without much care, as if the matter discussed was not about her lifelong matter. She said, "Find some young talents and if I find the person pleasing to the eyes, then quickly get engaged before the Imperial edict comes to the Shen mansion. This will do." She smiled again, "Don't worry. My vision is not as high as Eldest Brother so it is not difficult to search for one suitable."
Shen Qiu muttered, "One don't know which family's kid would have it convenient…" Shen Miao pretend she did not hear it.
Luo Ling walked closer a step and asked, "If you have not find a suitable one and before that happen, the Imperial edict comes down, what will Younger Biao Sister do?"
Shen Qiu said, "Younger Biao Brother, how could you say so unlucky things?"
However Luo Ling was staring at Shen Miao, seemingly obsessed in getting an answer from Shen Miao.
Shen Miao smiled, "Then just married."
"Younger Sister." Shen Qiu cried out.
"Else what?" Shen Miao said, "Could it be that one will let the Shen family bear the crime of resisting the Imperial degree? Implicate the entire family because of me, one person? Just because I am stubborn and not willing to marry, the family will suffer misfortune with me? Eldest Brother, is this something you wished to see? Eldest Brother, let me ask you, if you were me and the Empress want to bestow marriage to you, what will you do? Will you say that you will die and not marry?"
Shen Qiu kept quiet.
If it was him, he would accept the marriage bestowment for Shen Miao's and his parents' sake. If sacrificing himself would exchange a peace of mind for the entire household, then Shen Qiu felt that there was nothing he wouldn't do.
"Eldest Brother would also be like me." Shen Miao said lightly, "Not everyone in the world would be able to do what they wished and everyone would have things they have no choice but to do. Do one's best and listen to Heaven's will. I will do my best to avoid such a result but if it cannot be avoided then it is of no big deal. One will just marry." Shen Miao looked at Shen Qiu, "A husband and a marriage is far less important than one's loved ones."
"But that is the happiness of your entire life." Shen Qiu's eyes was a little sour. He did not know why when his Younger Sister spoke about marriage and husband, her gaze was so emotionless and there was even some disgust. But he had instinctively felt that Shen Miao was at the age of a young female but did not live the expectation and had the dreams of what a young female should have. This meant that it was him who did not take care of his Younger Sister well.
"Happiness is depended on oneself to achieve and not gain by depending on another." Shen Miao said, "Could it be that by marrying another, it would guarantee happiness in my entire life? No matter if it is the Crown Prince or another person, can one be certain that in the future, after tens of years, he would not bring in concubines and switch sides? I do not believe it."
"Younger Sister, you cannot think like this. You are not married now and cannot think others to be so terrible. You also cannot view life…. In vicissitude." Just like a married woman who was exhausted after experiencing thousands of journeys.
Luo Ling only looked at Shen Miao thoughtfully. His lips moved but he finally did not say anything.
Shen Miao eyes suspended. Husband? Marriage? In her previous life time these were the areas that she had tumbled down badly and to her, they were the two words that carried the most pain and injuries. She did not want to fall at the same place twice. Without any expectation, there will be no pain.
Her smile was cold, "It is not me who thought badly, it is Eldest Brother who think too complicatedly. It is just marrying another. Females all need to marry and if one marry well, it would be peaceful for one's life. Even if one fear that life is not good in the residence of the Crown Prince, I will not let the people who harm me live well."