On the morning of the next day, there was a special guest that came to the Shen mansion.
The person who came was none other than Feng An Ning.
After the previous incident where Shen Miao and Luo Tan was kidnapped, Feng An Ning really took the initiaitive to come over to apologize after everything. Shen Xin and wife were forthright people and moreover Feng An Ning could not be blamed for the incident and one could only blame those kidnappers for having superior methods. Even though Shen Xin and wife mentioned that it was not a serious issue and both Shen Miao and Luo Tan did not put it to heart, Feng An Ning however seemed to be very regretful about it. Other than sending people over every three to five days to gift some small playthings, she no longer came over. Most likely she felt that she did not know how to face Shen Miao and Luo Tan that even when Luo Tan send an invite to Feng An Ning, she would refuse it.
One did not expect that she would take the initiative to come over.
Once Luo Tan heard that Feng An Ning came, she was very happy and pulled Shen Miao before running to the front hall. In the Ding capital, other than Shen Miao, Feng An Ning was Luo Tan's only friend. One of them was shrewish but straightforward, the other was bold and unconstrained, both were similar to the other. Because of the previous matter, Luo Tan had not seen Feng An Ning for a long time and was somewhat impatient.
Upon arriving in the main hall, one really saw Luo Xue Yan talking to Feng An Ning. Feng An Ning was wearing a white short jacket dress with her hair up in a ponytail and wearing pearl earrings and ceramic glazed hairpin, looking much more quieter than her usual self. Luo Tan took the lead and called out, "Feng An Ning." And ran over.
Shen Miao however had noticed that beside where Feng An Ning was standing, there sat a young person in the early twenties. This youth's brows were beautiful and was wearing a blue fitting robes with a gentle and well-mannered look. When he noticed that Shen Miao was looking at him, he nodded his head to Shen Miao lightly. His etiquettes were very detailed.
There were some similarities with Feng An Ning with his eyes.
Luo Tan only then noticed that there was another person and said, "This is…"
Luo Xue Yan was somewhat embarrassed. It was not appropriate to let two young females see a male outsider without any rhyme or reason but thinking of the reason of Feng An Ning's visit, she felt in somewhat of a difficulty and could not say if she was happy or guilty.
It was Feng An Ning who took the initiative to speak, "This is my Elder Brother."
Shen Miao suddenly understood. There were only Feng An Ning and her Eldest Brother, Feng Zi Xian, who were the Feng family's Di born. This person would be her Eldest Brother, Feng Zi Xian.
Feng Zi Xian stood up and cup his hands to greet Shen Miao and Luo Tan. Shen Miao and Luo Tan quickly returned the gesture. Luo Tan looked at Feng Zi Xian somewhat doubtfully at Feng Zi Xian before looking at Feng An Ning again and asked, "An Ning, are you not here today to look for us to play?"
If Feng An ning come over to look for Shen Miao and Luo Tan, she would not bring Feng Zi Xian over. However this made one astonished as one did not know what Feng An Ning's intention was.
Feng An Ning did not speak and only looked towards Feng Zi Xian. Feng Zi Xian looked a little embarrassed but still spoke first, "Today one came over because one had head Shen Qiu's brothers in the Military Department mentioning that honoured residence was seeking for an son-in-law… This one. This one is so bold as to recommend oneself. May Young Lady and Furen overlook the aspect of the abruptness." Finishing, his face turn reddish and avoided Luo Tan's gaze.
Luo Xue Yan was somewhat embarrassed but there was joy in her eyes. Luo Tan's mouth dropped as if she had not expected that the other party came over for this reason. Shen Miao was startled but she could not pinpoint what her feeling was.
This Feng Zi Xian's words were considered very daring. Anyone who came over to match make, would always get another to lobby for them. Either it was their parents who would come over to probe, there would be extremely little that they themselves would come over to speak about it. However even if the younger generation come over, the older generation would be invited so that etiquette would still be followed. When this spreads out, others would speak much about Shen Miao's innocence. He was indeed a very well-mannered person.
Shen Miao did not speak but Feng An Ning actively spoke. She looked at Shen Miao, the usual Feng An Ning who was always so proud had reduce her arrogance so much, most likely because she still felt guilty about the matter before and her tone of voice was somewhat tempting to please her, "We have all heard about the rumours. Now all the officials' families are all avoiding but it is not your best choice to marry into the Eastern Palace. It is better… It is better to marry my Eldest Brother. My Eldest Brother is good at both literary and military matters and is dependable. If you marry to our residence, I will also help you and there will always be one to take care."
Feng An Ning had always been one who did not know how to make turns thus she spoke very straightforwardly and honestly but was thinking of Shen Miao in all aspects. Luo Xue Yan's face became much softer and warmer than before. Shen Miao asked, "Does Feng Furen and Master Feng know about it?"
Feng An Ning hesitated for a moment before saying, "Initially Father did not agree but afterwards after our persuasion, he went along with us. My Father is one who has a quick sharp mouth but a tofu heart. He is very vocal but he definitely would not block this matter."
Shen Miao did not doubt this point at all. She knew that Feng An Ning was one who was not calculating and guessed that Master Feng was also one who was above it.
She then looked at Feng Zi Xian again and asked, "Does Gentleman Feng think that I am pitiful so one then lend a helping hand and marry me?"
When these words were out, everyone was startled.
Luo Xue Yan was at a dazed that Shen Miao did not have a trace of shyness or any emotions in her lifetime event. It was indeed strange to treat it so calmly. Feng Zi Xian did not expect that Shen Miao would ask such a question that straightforwardly.
He quickly recovered to his senses, "This one's Younger Sister had mentioned about Young Lady numerous times and Zi Xian admires Young Lady's artistic talents and temperament… This time, it was also a coincidence opportunity, else one dare not take assistive measures." After finishing, his face became redder.
When Luo Tan heard it, she laughed out. Shen Miao was somewhat weak all over. She really did not know how did Feng An Ning describe herself normally that 'artistic talents and temperament' were used.
Feng An Ning looked at Shen Miao anxiously, "My Eldest Brother is definitely better than the Crown Prince."
Shen Miao almost laughed out. If these words fell into the ears of other, one would say Feng An Ning as being disrespectful. However for Feng An Ning to be able to say these words, it meant that she had sincerely placed Shen Miao in her heart. Shen Miao looked at Feng Zi Xian, who looked similar to Feng An Ning, magnanimous facial features. He should be an honest and straight person.
Shen Miao smiled, "One cannot settle my marriage in just a few short words. This would not be fair to me and also to Gentleman Feng."
Luo Xue Yan heard Shen Miao's words and had other thoughts in her heart. Shen Miao clearly had different thoughts of her marriage. However as a mother, one did not know what exactly Shen Miao was intending to do. Shen Miao was not willing to marry to the Eastern Palace and was not interested with these young talented characters. Luo Xue Yan was somewhat anxious.
One had thought that no one dared to go against the Imperial family and come over to the Shen mansion to propose marriage. Unexpectedly there came three, Luo Ling, Su Ming Feng and Feng Zi Xian. Either one of them would make one satisfied but Shen Miao unfortunately did not see anything special about all of them.
Feng An Ning said, "But aren't you anxious? There is almost no time left."
These words were not false as no one knew when the Imperial edict would be passed down. If it was previous, naturally there would be a lot of time for Shen Miao to think clearly but now if the Imperial edict was passed down then there would be no room for change at all.
Shen Miao waved his hands and just as she was about to speak, suddenly she saw Jing Zhe ran over in a rush, "Young Lady, someone from the Palace has arrived."
Luo Xue Yan's face turned white in an instance.
Not daring to let others discover that the siblings of the Feng family was here, Luo Xue Yan brought Shen Miao to the front hall to receive the message. Once the young eunuch who came to speak was done, they then know that it was not that an Imperial edict was passed and it was just to let Shen Miao enter the Palace alone tomorrow as the Empress had some things to say to Shen Miao.
After the young eunuch left, Luo Xue Yan's face because extremely ugly. Even though there was no Imperial edict, it was not much better than that. Tomorrow Shen Miao would enter the Palace alone and if at that time the Imperial edict was brought up, Shen Miao would not be able to refuse by herself. Even if it was not mention, one did not know what kind of intimidating words the Empress would say. It was a sinister motive to let Shen Miao meet with the Empress alone.
Feng An Ning and Feng Zi Xian were somewhat worried and conversely it was Shen Miao that advise them not to place it in their hearts. After the Feng siblings left, Luo Tan then asked, "Youngest Biao Sister, what can be done now? Could it be that the marriage will be settled in these days?"
"The marriage cannot be settled over night. Eight characters needs to be exchange, the necessary people has to be invited to speak and there are many other matters to settle. It would not be in time for tomorrow." Shen Miao said.
Luo Tan stared blankly, "So there are still so many things." She then continued, "Youngest Biao Sister does know it clearly."
Shen Miao paused a while. Of course she was clear with it, it was because in her previous life she was filled with joy as she watch each of these things were completed and could not wait to marry into the residence of her loved one early.
But she did not know that it was a tomb that did not even spit out ones bone after it has eaten cleanly.
Luo Xue Yan looked towards Shen Miao seriously, "Jiao Jiao, tell Mother of these people, who do you like?"
"It not considered as like." Shen Miao smiled gently, "Just pick the one most suitable. Mother do not need to be overly anxious. It is not too late for me to decide after returning from the Palace tomorrow. Maybe there would be even more suitable people appearing."
Luo Xue Yan was startled. Shen Miao always looked at her marriage without a care and seemed not to have any expectation for her future husband which made Luo Xue Yan panic in her heart. It was until when Shen Miao left before she muttered to herself, "Could it be that… Jiao Jiao still have feelings for Prince Ding…"
Shen Miao did not know these thoughts from Luo Xue Yan at all. She had already made plans for the worst case scenario and it was non other than to burn both jade and the common stone with the Imperial family. She had the strong determination but did not know if the Fu family people have plans to abandon their reputation.
Even in the worst cause scenario, she could not lose one's hope since one had to continue living.
As she thought like this, she looked over at the windows and finally felt a bit annoyed before instructing Gu Yu, "Close the windows tighter. I want to rest."
The Crown Prince had the intention to marry Shen Miao as a Secondary Consort which made the current situation of official families not daring to engage with the Shen family at all. The matter was in such an abuzz that it naturally also spread into the ears of the Princes.
In the residence of Prince Zhou, the two brothers, Prince Zhou and Prince Jing, were siting in front of the table discussing of the matter.
"After fighting with Number Six for so long, one did not expect that the Crown Prince exploit a loophole." Prince Zhou drank the wine indignantly, "The Crown Prince looked honest usually and is now smart."
Prince Jing was calmer than his older brother and shook his head, "The way I see it, this matter is not only the Crown Prince's idea and also Imperial Father's incitement. Imperial Father is not satisfied with us and Prince Li's clique since the Crown Prince was still the rightful one. Imperial Father helped the Crown Prince in bias, thus wanted to gift the Shen family army's power to the Crown Prince."
"Imperial Father is also old and confused." Prince Zhou sneered, "It is always said that abler people does more work. That invalid and sickly Crown Prince did not think that even if the military power of the Shen family fall into his hands, how many years can he use it? It might be possible that one does not need to wait for it to warm up when one breathe one's last and then it would have given others a cheap advantage." These words were very vicious, as it had the meaning of almost cursing the Crown Prince do die early. Even as such, Prince Zhou's tone was filled with jealousy as one had to know what if the Crown Prince gained the military power of the Shen family, not only his power and influence would grow, not only could he fight with him and Prince Li as equals, he might be able to exceed them.
The Crown Prince had the unique advantage of being the rightful successor and in addition to the Shen family's military power. With such odds, how could Prince Zhou not be anxious?
"So as to speak, at the beginning one might as well let that little girl of the Shen family marry to Number Nine. It is better than the Crown Prince." Prince Zhou said solemnly.
"Number Nine?" Prince Jing's smile was profound, "Fourth Oder Brother, Number Nine is not as simple as you and I think."
"You are speaking about Shen Wan and Prince Qin's matter?" Prince Zhou had a sense of uncertainty, "No matter how one looks, there was someone behind inciting the matter. Even if it is true, then it only indicate that he has that ambition. Speaking the truth, between us nine brothers, which one does not have any ambitions to that throne? Number Nine did not take any sides as he want to stand alone. With such ambitions, one have to have that ability first. One don't even participate much in the court matter on usual days so which official was willing to follow him?"
Fu Xiu Yi and Shen Wan were very close in secret and there was also an unclear relationship with the Crown Prince of Qin country. When this was heard by the other Princes, they were wary of Fu Xiu Yi but did not place him on the first position. There was no other reason except that Fu Xiu Yi did not participate in court matters for many years so even if he had that ambition, he did not have the strength. It was just one who had the heart higher than Heavens and life as thin as paper. Comparing with him, the arch-enemy was more important.
Prince Jing shook his head, "Fourth Older Brother should not underestimate Number Nine. I always felt that he hid himself deeply."
Prince Zhou waved his hands impatiently, "Without any rhyme or reason, why keep on mentioning Number Nine? Today I called you over as there is a matter to be discussed."