Detailing Secret Thoughts
It was a letter from home.
The companions let go of their doubts.
“There is a letter from home again.” They smiled and said, “You have a lot of letters these days. This is not the first time you have gone out. Why are the uncles and aunts so worried?”
“Because the big exam is next year.” Ning Yunzhao smiled and put away the letter. “I’ve grown up but I’m still just a fool in my parents’ eyes.”
His companions laughed.
Ning Yunzhao was a talented person, but he was not arrogant. He was very good at dealing with people and deserved to be a child of Beiliu’s Ning family.
They stopped asking questions and laughed as they made their way back to their residence. Ning Yunzhao returned to his room and sat in front of the bookcase.
The desk was so full that the pen, ink, paper and inkstones could barely squeeze together. There was also an oil lamp and a lantern.
The servant poured the tea.
Ning Yunzhao didn’t have time to drink tea. He took out the letter and swept over it at a glance. Then he looked surprised and nervous and finally smiled again.
After that, he took a breath, took a sip of tea, and seriously looked at it word by word.
“Noble Son, I also asked around,” Xiaoding stood in front of a few boxes and said, “Now what is is being said in Yangcheng is that Fang Dechang had received an imperial edict. The Fang family is fine and everything is business as usual. I don’t know if it’s true.”
Ning Yunzhao put down the letter and smiled.
“The imperial edict is true, so other things are naturally true.” He said and sighed, one hand placed on the table for support, “I didn’t expect that the Fang family had a decree.”
The servant nodded.
“Yes. Yes.” He said, “What if they take the imperial edict to force our family to recognize your marriage contract with Miss Jun?”
Ning Yunzhao looked up at him.
The servant looked embarrassed.
Everything had been handled properly so the young master did not look so deeply worried as when he couldn’t ask about it openly and could only lean out the window and inquire news from passing doormen.
“Their family has a decree, which means a lot of unexpected things.”
Ning Yunzhao looked at the servant and explained patiently.
“This unexpected thing involves many aspects. Don’t just think about the personal affairs of men and women. Is the Fang family full of the kind of people who would do small things with an imperial edict?”
The servant made a sound of doubt and thought carefully.
“But,” he reached out and grabbed his head. He looked puzzled and confused, “It doesn’t seem to be a big deal to not go home at night because she didn’t tell her family about collecting herbs.”
Compared with the noble son, it was more important to have a marriage.
“Is it a small matter that she didn’t go home at night?” Ning Yunzhao frowned. He patted the table and said, “What a big deal that she suddenly disappeared at this time!”
The servant hurried to nod.
For noble son it wouldn’t be a big deal.
“Yes, yes, Miss Jun’s disappearance is a big deal. It’s a big deal,” he said.
Of course, Ning Yunzhao could see what the servant was thinking. He wanted to explain but felt that he couldn’t explain it clearly enough for the fool to understand. It was better not to waste time.
“But noble son, is this a good thing or a bad thing now?” The servant asked cautiously, “did the Fang family really save the late emperor?”
Ning Yunzhao looked at the letter on the desk and held the teacup.
“Fortune and misfortune go hand in hand. Good things may be bad things. Bad things can also be good things.” He said, “As for the Fang family’s rescue of the late emperor, this is a good thing.” It’s good for the other party’s family and good for the late emperor.
Did he get it?
“So is it true or false?” The servant was still puzzled.
Ning Yunzhao smiled and put down the teacup.
“Since it’s a good thing, why talk about true or false?” He said.
The little servant didn’t understand, so he just stopped thinking about it.
“Sir, that is to say, Miss Jun will be fine, won’t she?” He asked directly.
Ning Yunzhao meditated for a moment.
“She’ll be okay.” He said, “It’s good for everyone that the matter was solved like this.”
At least it was good for the time being.
The servant was relieved and reached out to wipe his sweat.
“That’s good, that’s good.” He said.
Ning Yunzhao looked at him and smiled.
“Okay, everything’s okay. Go and rest quickly.” He said.
“Noble son should also have a good rest.” The servant laughed and said, “Don’t worry, the people I arranged in Yangcheng are the most appropriate ones. If there is any news, it will be sent as soon as possible.”
Without waiting for Ning Yunzhao to speak again, he ran out.
Ning Yunzhao shook his head helplessly.
“People always think too much.” He said and his eyes fell on the lantern at the desk, “Master Fang has been cured.”
After thinking about it, he found that he couldn’t remember the girl’s appearance.
Standing with a lantern in the dim night of the Lantern Festival, or handing over a pear in the Fang family’s yard in the middle of the night, the image seemed like it was always blurred through the haze of night.
Regardless of whether the wealth of this Fang family could reach the sky, it was always a good thing to have a healthy husband.
This was good.
She should be very happy now, right?
Did he want to write a letter of congratulations?
The idea flashed, and Ning Yunzhao frowned.
How does one write a letter for no reason? He was not familiar with it.
Ning Yunzhao reached out and lit a lantern.
The imperial edict.
What would happen now if the Fang family had really forced them to admit the marriage contract with the imperial edict?
He suddenly had a thought.
Immediately, he coughed softly, picked up the tea and took a sip. The tea was already cold, which also made him laugh, shake his head, put away the writing paper. He took out a book and lowered his head to study carefully.
Outside the window, the shade was thick, and the cicadas were singing.
Fang Chengyu, at Yangcheng thousands of miles away, also returned home.
Old Lady Fang and Madam Fang waited with concern, one ordering someone to fan and the other ordering someone to bring herbal tea.
Fang Chengyu smiled and accepted their care and pampering.
“There are no problems. Now the whole city is already talking about it.” He said, “The news from the businesses from all over Shanxi has also spread in other places, and old countryside rumors have been arranged in Henan on the route of the ancestor’s relocation of the capital.”
Hearing him say this, Madam Fang smiled.
“Mother, you don’t know that Chengyu also arranged a well in the old place. Legend has it that when our ancestor was carrying the First Emperor on his back to escape, the mouth of a spring was kicked open by the villagers.” She smiled.
“If a story is to be weaved, it should be weaved together thoroughly.” Fang Chengyu said and looked at Old Lady Fang again, “Grandma, can I arrange it like this?”
Old Lady Fang looked at him with eyes full of gratitude.
“You arranged it very well and thoughtfully.” She said, sighing a little, “I didn’t expect you to do such a good job.”
Fang Chengyu smiled.
“It’s not much. I read a lot.” He said, “There have been a lot of such things written in books; I learned from them.”
Learned from them.
Many things can be learned from stories but how to read people1, how to manage a business, and how to kill people is not so easy to learn.
Old Lady Fang couldn’t help her eyes from stinging when she looked at Fang Chengyu.
Since Fang Chengyu had come back, she felt as if she had let go of a heavy burden and suddenly had support.
And the child did not disappoint her. Never. Even if he was ten years late, he was still as excellent as she had expected.
Madam Fang couldn’t help wiping her tears.
It’s really strange. Obviously everything is better now, but she likes to cry more than before.
“Grandma, now it seems that there are no more problems.” Fang Chengyu said with a smile.
Old Lady Fang nodded.
“Yes, the government has made no action, nor the Jinyiwei. That is to say, they also agree with this statement.” She said, “This issue can be considered concluded.”
“What happens next?” Madam Fang asked.
This was the first time she learned about this imperial edict, and Old Lady Fang also confessed frankly to her and Chengyu that the true origin of the imperial edict cannot be said, at least not now.
The unknown always makes people nervous.
“Next, let’s manage the businesses well and do our job well.” Fang Chengyu took over answering.
The unknown never seemed to be a problem for him.
“I have been ill for so many years. I have seen through everything except why I got sick.” Fang Chengyu laughed and said, “Now that my only problem has been solved, there will be no more problems.”
Old Lady Fang nodded with joy.
“I wonder where cousin is now.” Fang Chengyu suddenly said.
If he didn’t know, they wouldn’t know.
Old Lady Fang and Madam Fang looked at each other.
“The last news said that they had passed Henan.” Madam Fang said with another worried face, “Isn’t this child walking too fast day and night?”
“Cousin’s arrangements will definitely be fine.” Fang Chengyu said with a smile, “Grandma and mother don’t have to worry.”
In fact, this sentence was more appropriate to be said to him.
Old Lady Fang and Madam Fang looked at him, and the young man’s face smiled like a burning sun.
“Chengyu, the imperial edict has been arranged, and I have one more thing to tell you.”
Madam Fang quivered.
“Mother!” She blurted out, “No”
Don’t say it, at least don’t say it now. How can you have the heart to say it? Look at the smile on this teenager’s face. How can it be broken?
Old Lady Fang paused for a moment and looked at Fang Chengyu.
“Chengyu, your marriage with your cousin is fake.” She still said it.
The smile on Fang Chengyu’s face froze.
Note about the next chapter: I have recently quit my job and am working on relocating for a new one. I still intend to keep going with new chapters, but it might be a while again before I get another chapter up. I appreciate everyone’s comments and hope you are all doing well!
Footnotes and Idioms
1 – 察言观色 – chá yán guān sè – “to weigh somebody’s words and observe their facial expression”; to discern somebody’s thoughts from their body language