When those words were spoken, a blanket of silence fell into the room.
Luo Xue Yan dared not look at Shen Miao's eyes, Shen Xin's voice had revealed exhaustion, Luo Ling was stunned, Lou Tan's jaw dropped and it was Shen Qiu who slammed on the table and stood up, "What is this?"
The calmest one was however Shen Miao.
However even though she looked calm on the surface, it did not mean that there were no waves in her heart. She had long expected Xie Jing Xing's move but she did not expect that Xie Jing Xing would actually dared to be so blatant… Wait. How did he make Emperor Wen Hui take the initiative to bestow the marriage?
As Shen Miao was thinking about that, Shen Qiu could not help but stood up and spoke in a rush, "What kind of person Prince Rui is? How could Younger Sister, a Young Lady of Ming Qi marry a person from Great Liang? Is the Emperor crazy?"
"Qiu-er." Luo Xue Yan glared at him, "Guard one's tongue." Walls had ears and there would be spies of the Heavens' family everywhere. Shen Qiu so crazily angry that he such treacherous things.
Shen Qiu held his tongue and looked at Shen Miao before he scratched his head, "No matter what, Younger Sister cannot marry to that whatever Prince Rui… Why is this name so familiar…" Suddenly his brain made the connection and he suddenly clapped his hands, "So it is that person. Like I said, why a magnificent Prince of First Rank in Great Liang would take the initiative to greet me? So he is chasing Younger Sister. How vile."
Shen Xin frown when he heard it and asked, "You have seen Prince Rui?"
"The last time when Younger Biao Brother and I returned to the residence, we have encountered him. He even invited me to the residence of Prince Rui to spar." Shen Qiu spoke angrily, "If I had known that he had such an intention, I would have broken his horse's legs and let him fall to his death."
Shen Miao, "…"
Luo Ling was also startled before thinking about something and looked at Shen Miao.
Shen Miao was unable to make head or tails of Luo Ling's complicated gaze and also did not have the mood at this moment to investigate it further. She only asked Shen Xin, "This was the Imperial decree that His Majesty announced? Why did the Emperor suddenly bestow a marriage to me?"
Even though there were not many Young Ladies that were suitable to marry to Great Liang, there were a few Imperial Princesses in the Imperial family and numerous Princesses, so no matter the case there was no need to pinpoint her. Of course Shen Miao knew that it was Xie Jing Xing's intention but she still want to inquire on how did Xie Jing Xing convince Emperor Wen Hui.
(GongZhu = Daughters of the Emperor aka Imperial Princesses, JunZhu = Daughters of Princes or titles granted by the Emperor to specific Young Ladies aka Princess)
Shen Xin looked at Shen Miao, he eyes felt painful and it was only after a moment when he sighed and said, "Jiao Jiao, it is Father that is incompetent." He then slowly spoke of the day's matters.
So it was during today's court when Emperor Wen Hui had dealt with the few court matters but suddenly changed topic and spoke of Prince Rui's of Great Liang's intention to marry back a Prince Consort from Ming Qi. Some of the officials were excited and some were restless. Those who doted on their daughters naturally would not wish to see their daughters marrying far away, whereas those who were determined to climb up the ladder would wish to see their daughters marrying to Prince Rui and be at least a Prince's Consort.
However Emperor Wen Hui did not give others much opportunity to think and the Young Lady that was bestowed a marriage was Shen Miao, the Di daughter of the Formidable Grand General, Shen Xin.
Everyone was stunned. Everyone knew that Shen Miao was the pearl in Shen Xin's palm thus one feared that Shen Xin would not be willing to let Shen Miao marry to Great Liang. Currently it was a time when Ming Qi needs Shen XIn the most so why would Emperor Wen Hui make Shen Xin unhappy at this time? Even though these officials were sharp and crafty, this time they were unable to see through Emperor Wen Hui's heart.
Shen Xin naturally had a stomach full of anger and hated that he could not chop down the hall. He was willing to bear all kinds of grievances but was not willing to let his daughter suffer any but this time Emperor Wen Hui did not discuss with him at all and directly bestow a marriage to Shen Miao. This meant that there was no chance for the Shen family to oppose. If they were to oppose, it would meant that they were resisting the decree and one feared that Shen Miao would not be willing to get the entire family killed.
Shen Xin's heart was also filled with suspicions, just a short period back Emperor Wen Hui also wanted to marry Shen Miao to the Crown Prince but the wine-lover's heart was not In the cup. So why in such a short period of time he would let Shen Miao marry Great Liang's Prince of First Rank?
After the court session, Emperor Wen Hui stopped Shen Xin and did not let him leave. Shen Xin was brought to the Imperial Study and had an intimate and long talk with him.
This time, he spoke of the truth behind the bestowing of Shen Miao's marriage.
That was how Shen Xin knew that it was Prince Rui's intention to marry Shen Miao and Prince Rui used the border cities of Ming Qi to threaten Emperor Wen Hui to make this decision.
Even though it was said as border cities of Ming Qi but the meaning behind was the entire land that Ming Qi was sitting on. Emperor Wen Hui was helpess and had no choice but to agree to this request. At the end Emperor Wen Hui said, "Zhen is the master of Ming Qi and cannot just ignore the life and death of the commoners, so General Shen, this time one have to wrong Young Lady Shen this time and use her to exchange for the safety of the commoners. If Young Lady Shen knows of it, she would understand Zhen's decision."
Officials should listen to the Monarch's orders, not to mention the Monarch in front was sincerely apologising and explaining the situation. If it was in the past, Shen Xin would definitely be considerate and even feel a little grateful.
However when Emperor Wen Hui said 'use her to exchange for the safety of the commoners', there was a slight chill that passed him. He felt that there was some hypocrisy in this Monarch that he had been loyal to for his whole life.
The commoners. Wasn't his daughter also one of the commoners? Why must he sacrifice his daughter? His entire life it was all expedition and battles and he had already gave half his life to Ming Qi. His life could be sacrificed so as to protect the world's living things. However he was unable to protect his own daughter, so what kind of Father was he? After sacrificing him, now it is his daughter turn to sacrifice?
Shen Xin could no longer listen to whatever Emperor Wen Hui said. Most likely he mentioned that when Shen Miao marry, what Emperor Wen Hui would gift so that it would be grand. But in Shen Xin's ears, it was extremely sarcastic.
No matter how selfless one was, one's heart would be biased towards one's loved ones. In particular with Shen Xin, who in the past decades had never had his daughter by his side, had always felt that Shen Miao was distant with both him and his wife and they had deserved it. Afterwards it was Heaven's pity that Shen Miao became aclose with them again but Shen Miao's personality had changed so much that it seemed that she had grown up a lot overnight. Shen Xin saw it in his eyes and ached in his heart.
Shen Miao was a little flower that was carefully grown in the residence and now unknowingly this flower had grown into a strong and upright tree. By growing this fast, she had also lost a lot of things. His heart was initially felt conscience-stricken with Shen Miao andn now with this Imperial decree, Shen Xin really did not know how to face Shen Miao.
Shen Xin finished all his words and the room fell silent. Even Shen Qiu did not speak.
Emperor Wen Hui had already said it to such a point so what else could be done? Did one have to watch wide eyes as Shen Miao marry another? This was being too cruel to Shen Miao.
Not to mention about liking the man, to live together for an entire life with a man that one had never seen or know what kind of temperament that he has and it was in a foreign country… Shen Qiu did not dare to think about it.
Shen Miao said, "So it is as such." Her expression was calm and did not seem to be affected by the slightest. Everyone only then found that from knowing about the Imperial decree till now Shen Miao did not reveal a trace of surprise at all.
Luo Xue Yan was afraid that she was restraining too much, "Jiao Jiao, you need not need to suppress everything in the heart. The matter is not decided yet…"
"Mother need not need to coax me. The Imperial decree had been past so one cannot just resist it." Shen Miao smiled, "Moreover it is not a bad thing to marry to Prince Rui since one will be a Prince Consort and there would be no problems in wearing brocade and eating jaded food. With Prince Rui's graceful bearing, even though one is unable to his face, he should have a good appearance."
"But you do not know him at all." Shen Qiu said anxiously, "So how would you know his behaviour and conduct?"
"Isn't the world like this?" Shen Miao said plainly, "For some people, after being with another for the entire life, one would still not know about one's conduct so marrying Prince Rui is not as bad as you all are thinking. By remaining in Ding capital, it would be easier to be schemed by others and the Shen family would not be able to protect me."
Shen Xin's eyes flashed and there was a trace of pain in them.
The greater his military power was the more restrains he had to take on as the Emperor would be more fearful and would want to contain him more. Previously the Crown Prince could create difficulties on Shen Miao's marriage and naturally others could also create difficulties. One was not afraid of thieves but fear that thieves remember one. The Shen family indeed could not protect Shen Miao.
An ignorant person was innocent and treasuring a jade ring becomes a crime. For the first time, one started to hate the military power one had.
"Great Liang is a good place." Shen Miao smiled gently and her tone of voice was somewhat yearning, "One had seen travel notes that indicated that Great Liang is a rich nation and its citizen enjoys peace that there was no need to lock one's doors at night and songs and dance were used to celebrate peace. With the commoners harmonious and happy and purging of thieves, it is a good sight to behold."
"No matter how good the sights are, you will be alone…" Luo Xue Yan could not bear to continue.
"The Consort of Great Liang's Prince Rui is a Prince Consort of First Rank. Being below one person and above ten thousands, there would not be others bullying me." Shen Miao said thoughtfully, "Since Prince Rui want to marry me, it might be that he has deeply rooted feeling for me and naturally would treat me well."
She rarely said words to tease herself like this and it made Luo Xue Yan and the rest of them smile. Luo Xue Yan said smilingly, "Silly child. He might not necessarily…" Her words suddenly stopped. Shen Miao was bright and intelligent so how would she not know that it was possible that Prince Rui did not fancy her but it was due to the Shen family? However like this, it made them feel assure.
Thinking about this, Luo Xue Yan felt infinitely sour in her heart.
Shen Miao smiled slightly, "it is a joyous matter so why are you all not happy? Not only that, you look suffocated." She continued, "Since the Imperial decree has been passed, not too long later one would be notified. I will have to start embroidering my wedding dress."
There was no traces of grievances or unhappiness in her tone and instead was so natural as if it was a marriage that was settled for a long time. The more she was like this, the sadder Shen Xin and wife was.
After talking for a while, Shen Miao felt tired thus everyone started to eat. This meal was eaten tastelessly as each was preoccupied with their own thoughts. After the meal was finished, the group was dispersed to rest but Luo Tan cling onto Shen Miao's arm as if she had something to talk to Shen Miao. Just as they were heading to her courtyard, Luo Ling called her.
"Older Biao Brother, is anything the matter?" Shen Miao asked as she looked at him.
Luo Ling asked, "Younger Biao Sister, do you really want to marry to Prince Rui?"
Luo Tan looked somewhat strangely at Luo Ling as Shen Miao smiled, "The Imperial decree has been passed. It does not matter whether I want to or not."
"One thought that you would directly say that you do not want." Luo Ling's gaze dimmed but he still put on a slight smile, "Just like previously in Xiao Chun City where you rejected those Young Masters."
Shen Miao smiled without saying anything.
"Congratulations." He smiled bitterly.
Shen Miao nodded her head as thanks.
After sending Luo Ling off, Luo Tan pulled Shen Miao back into the courtyard and dispersed the servants upon entering the room. After closing the doors, she lowered her voice and spoke mysteriously, "Youngest Biao Sister, you knew of this matter correct?"
"What?" Shen Miao was unable to make heads or tails on the matter.
"The matter of Prince Rui forcing the Emperor to bestow a marriage for you." Luo Tan said hurriedly.
Shen Miao's heart jumped. Luo Tan was normally very carefree and casual and would not be sensitive to whatever matters but surprisingly she had an instinct to matters that she should not know.
She vaguely dealt with it, "How is it possible?"
"How could it not be possible?" Luo Tan said with interest, "You still remember the last time when we were being kidnap. When I woke up, I passed your message to Prince Rui and Prince Rui found you in a short time. At that time I was wondering about the relationship between both of you and guessed that it must be rather good else Prince Rui would not have helped you. Is it like what the novels spoke of, things of heroes and beauty?"
Shen Miao said, "You better read lesser of those novels."
"Not mentioning novels." Luo Tan spoke as she rest her chin on her hand, "That Prince Rui's ability is not small at all. At that time Gu Gu and Gu Fu had search for you for many days but unable to find you but he was able to find you in a short time. We, the Luo family, only look at abilities. He is a man with abilities and one heard that he is also very good looking. This is very rare. Many good looking men are embroidered pillows and are visually attractive but useless, just like that Physician Gao who comes to our residence often. He is also good looking but from one glance, he is one that could fall with a gust of wind. This kind of men are not dependable and at most, one could only see."
Cong Yang, who was up on the tree outside was listening with fascination, almost fell off. Visually attractive but useless… This Young Biao Lady of the Luo family was really bold and powerful. One did not know how would Gentleman Gao feel upon listening to this…