Mu Huanqing nodded as she listened. “What you say makes sense. But have you considered that it would not be so smooth and steady to follow me? The days in the village may be even harder than in the Marquis house. Do you still want to follow?”
Nanny Ji hastened to reply, “Although this old slave has not accompanied the young madam for long, the days this old slave spent with the young madam made this old slave see very clearly. The young madam is magnanimous and treats subordinates well. To speak truthfully, this old slave only asks to be fed and clothed well and to be buried in a coffin instead of being rolled up in a straw mat and thrown into a mass grave. This old slave knows that the young madam is a good person and merely wants to follow you. Only begging for food and a place to stay. Asking the young madam to let this old slave follow along!” Upon saying so, Nanny Ji once again kowtowed several times.
The servants in the Marquis household also had their ranks. Those with skills all wanted to fight for a spot beside the masters and get some advantages. Fighting day after day, she had fought for most of her life and exhausted all of her ingenuity. Not only was she unskilled with no advantages, but she was also an impulsive person who often spoke out of turn and was now even scorned for her age.
She was tired. She did not want to continue to fight and only wanted to find a place to peacefully pass her late years. She had at least developed her perception in the Marquis house and was able to see that this young madam was kind-hearted but not stupid. She was only too lazy to argue with others.
Mu Huanqing quietly looked at Nanny Ji and slowly said, “You need to consider carefully. I have been chased out and am now being treated like a demoted wife. The glory and wealth of the Marquis will have nothing to do with me. Future days will not be spent at the Marquis house, with good food and drink. It will be poor and difficult. Do you still want to follow me in these circumstances?”
Nanny Ji felt hopeful and lifted her head to eagerly say, “Yes, this old slave is willing to follow the young madam. As long as there is enough to eat and drink, it does not matter if it is plain tea and simple rice along with a board to sleep on, this old slave is willing.”
Mu Huanqing looked at her deeply and measured her up before finally nodding. “Since it is like this, then you can just come along!”
Nanny Ji was happily surprised and began to kowtow excitedly. “This old slave thanks the young madam!”
After thanking the young madam, Nanny Ji hurried away to pack her things. Liu Yun, who had seen it all, had a complicated gaze as she watched the happily departing shadow of Nanny Ji. She silently turned back and studied the young madam who was composedly drinking tea.
Unexpectedly, the young madam looked towards her and smilingly said, “It seems like I am more popular than I expected.”
“...” Liu Yun lowered her head and, for an unknown reason, blushed.
At this moment, Liu Mu had come back and announced that the Marquis had come. He was awaiting her in her courtyard and would only talk out there because he would not enter her room.
Mu Huanqing wanted to laugh when she heard that. Wouldn’t enter her room? Afraid that she would try to eat him? Fine, since he wanted to avoid rumours with his own wife, she would help accommodate him!
She always believed he would come because she was certain that he would be curious about her conditions. She also knew that her conditions would move him.
She walked out of the room and saw a cold and detached profile standing as straight as a pencil. Both hands were resting behind his back and there was even the steward Zhao Wei beside him. Liu Yun and Liu Mu were also standing behind the Marquis as if it didn’t matter whether anyone knew that they were the Marquis’s subordinates.
“Marquis.” Mu Huanqing bowed towards him.
Fu Yanlin turned around and looked the woman up and down. Even though she had been pushed to this step, she was still as cool-headed as she was before. He couldn’t sniff out even a trace of anger or dissatisfaction on her body.
Her gaze was too calm. Not at all like the appearance of a woman who has been wronged and is being expelled from the house.
“Whatever conditions the young madam has, please state it!” The one who said this was steward Zhao.
Mu Huanqing glanced at Steward Zhao, then looked back at Fu Yanlin. He was just standing there, with a cold and sombre look and an expressionless face. He did not say a word and just let the steward act as his voice.
Mu Huanqing resisted the urge to roll her eyes and was too lazy to bicker with him. It was fine if they didn’t speak to each other, she had already decided to leave and would thereby have no association with him in the future. As for the indifference and disrespect that the people of the Marquis household had treated her with, it had not only been one or two days. If she wanted to get angry, she would have exploded long ago instead of waiting until this moment.
She would just return a report with another, so they won’t owe each other anything! She was already a bit impatient from this entire situation and just wanted to end it earlier instead of continuing down this pointless path of arguing.
Besides, her head was hurting due to the pregnancy issue and these people happened to allow her to leave this household. She decided to beat them at their own game and was able to stay calm and in control from the beginning.
“Asking the Marquis to take a look. If there is no problem with the content, it will be fine to make me a copy.” She handed over a document that she had prepared previously.
Steward Zhao took the document and gave it to the Marquis.
Fu Yanlin took the papers and opened them. His indifferent expression showed a bit of surprise.
They were separation papers.
After Fu Yanlin finished reading them, he finally turned to look at her. His long eagle eyes narrowed.
“What is the meaning of this?”
“It is the literal meaning.” She answered neutrally.
He stared at her, the two of them confronted each other for a good while. She didn’t avert her gaze under his strict stare but looked straight at him.
At last, Fu Yanlin opened his mouth. “Everyone retreat.”
Steward Zhao froze for a moment, then bowed saying, “Yes, Marquis.”
After Steward Zhao and the Liu twins retreated, Fu Yanlin turned towards her. This was his first time meeting her head on.
“You want to separate?” She actually took the initiative to bring up divorcing? Was it the tactic of retreating before advancing or was it her actual intention?
“It is the Marquis who wants to separate, I am merely fulfilling the Marquis’s wishes.”
He didn’t express his opinion and just laughed grimly. “We were married on imperial orders. How can a marriage decreed by the Emperor be easily broken? Don’t play with me.”
“Correct. A marriage arranged by the Emperor cannot so easily be broken or we would be hitting the Emperor’s face. That’s why I need to find the Marquis and discuss a solution that will be the best of both worlds.”
“You suppose that divorcing is so simple? Is this the solution you have thought up? Not only will Lord Mu not agree but even the Emperor will hand down blame.” He taunted. She must have known that they could not separate, so she dared to bring this up knowing that she was being supported in the background. This was her protest against them chasing her to the countryside; besides, if this separation booklet was distributed outside, other people will say that Fu Yanlin favours the concubine and kills the wife.
“Utter nonsense!” He squeezed the papers in his hand and threw them on the ground. He turned around, intending to leave. He didn’t want to continue to speak nonsense with her.
“Stop!” Mu Huanqing shouted.
Fu Yanlin only paused. He didn’t even turn his head before continuing to walk off. He didn’t want to pay the slightest bit of attention to her.
Mu Huanqing furrowed her brows and her eyes sharpened. If he didn’t agree, her plans would completely fail.
Since it was like this, she could only do this.
“If you don’t copy down those separation papers, I will request an audience with the Emperor and say that you favour the concubine over the wife.”
Fu Yanlin finally stopped and turned around, staring at her coldly.
“What did you say?”
“You heard what I said. Before I leave this house, you must copy these separation papers for me. If you don’t write them, I will make such a fuss in this house that not even the chickens or dogs will be undisturbed. Don’t reckon that I do not have this ability. I will make your beloved cousin live in hell.”
Fu Yanlin’s eyes exploded in radiant fury. “You dare?”
She put her hands on her hips and sneered, no longer being polite. “What do I not dare to do?”
Fu Yanlin narrowed his eyes and slowly warned her. “If you report this to the Emperor, the one who loses face will not just be this household. The concubine’s miscarriage will also be brought to light. You are the mistress, but did such a vicious thing out of jealousy.”
“I can say that I was framed. You were dissatisfied with this marriage, so sought to frame me. This is the act of favouring the concubine and killing the wife. Everyone knows the one you wanted to marry was not me. If the Emperor hears of this matter, the Emperor may not only believe your words. After all, the Emperor had to consider many things when bestowing our marriage. If the Emperor knows that you are highly dissatisfied with his arranged marriage, do you think that the Emperor deems that royal pride is more important? Or your Zhen Yuan Marquis’s pride is more important?”
Using the Emperor's name to suppress him again? The Mu family’s daughter is exactly like her father, using this sort of despicable trick. Fu Yanlin was staring at her with his eyes so wide open it was like they would tear. The murderous eyes looked like they wished badly to tear her in pieces.
Mu Huanqing had no other choice than to be the bad guy. If Fu Yanlin needed to be forced to sign the separation papers, she could only use this threat.
She didn’t care at all about his deepening misunderstanding of her. The important thing was whether she could leave this house. What did it matter whether Fu Yanlin disliked her?
After a threat, she needed to pacify him. She didn’t want to force him into a corner.
“Rest assured, Marquis. After receiving the separation book, I will not say a word. After all, even I know that this parting is slapping the Emperor’s face. This matter will only be known to you and I. When I receive the papers and leave the Marquis house, we will walk on separate paths. I will not return. Of course, if there is a need, I can also play along with the Marquis. Because I also do not want any troubles. The Marquis can just treat me like a nameplate. When the time is right and when the situation allows if the Marquis wants to announce to others about this separation, I myself have no objections.”
Fu Yanlin glared at her for a while. He didn’t know what play she wanted to act out. But if she wants to act, he will accompany her act.
“Fine. Since you so request, this Marquis will help you write out this separation booklet.”
Mu Huanqing released a breath. She put away her provoking air and slowly smiled. Since he thinks she is a villainess, she will do everything she can to perfectly act out this villainess persona.
“It is great that the Marquis can agree. I have two other conditions, asking the Marquis to satisfy them all.”
Fu Yanlin narrowed his eyes. “Speak.”
Naz's interesting tidbit: There were two types of divorces in ancient China. 'Separation' and 'abandonment'. The type used here is separation, hence why I did not use the word divorce.
Separation is when both husband and wife mutually decide that they just can't get along. Whereas the 'abandonment' type of divorce is when the wife commits one or multiple of the seven wrongs. For the curious, the criteria are (really short summary): being unfilial, childless, adultery, jealousy, having a serious illness, gossipy, and theft.
Is it just me or is the list full of both kinda serious bad things and also petty bad things... Divorced for being jealous and gossipy? o.o Feelsbadman.