After leaving the Jiuzheng Mountain Villa and saying farewell to Song Zimiao, Situ Xin and Xiao Yixuan sat in the carriage on the way back. Situ Xin glared at Xiao Yixuan with a displeased expression.
‘Why are you making me leave so soon?’
‘Don’t you want to see Yan’er? Everything has been solved and Song Zimiao is still the martial arts leader after all.’
Yesterday’s events at the meeting had been unexpected and all the sect leaders stayed at Jiuzheng Mountain Villa for an extra night to calm things down. However, later they still had to take out the Zhan Lu sword to control the angry and confused group of martial artists.
Situ Xin examined the Zhan Lu sword with interest. ‘I was thinking, this Zhan Lu sword should be worth more than my Lingshe sword.’
Situ Xin currently had no money, since she had given her last silver coin to Huan Yuan Xiaoqi. Xiao Yixuan watched Situ Xin and replied ‘Someone once came to the palace to try to buy the Zhan Lu sword. He gave a hundred thousand taels of gold but couldn’t pull the sword out’
Situ Xin looked at the sword again. She imagined a hundred thousand gold taels and thought about all the rare and precious plant species she would be able to buy with that amount. She smiled at Xiao Yixuan sweetly ‘Will you lend me the sword for a couple of days?’ She leaned forward towards Xiao Yixuan.
‘Only if you become my wife.’
Situ Xin pouted and looked away. ‘Forget it then.’ She then threw the sword back to Xiao Yixuan and pretended to turn away.
Xiao Yixuan moved himself to sit next to Situ Xin. He cuddled up to her and said. ‘What’s so bad about being my wife? You can eat whatever you want anytime, and I will travel with you around the world to search for precious flower species.’
Yan’er had told him that Situ Xin had two cares in the world. Food and flowers. Of course, right after this Yan’er had smiled and said ‘Dad, I like sweets too’ and looked at him sweetly. This mother and son duo were so similar.
Situ Xin thought about his offer and swallowed hard. She shook her head, trying to clear her mind. As she opened her mouth to say something, Ye Ying’s voice came from outside the carriage. ‘Wangye, we have arrived at Yangzhou.’
‘Alright then, I’m going to go wander around.’ Situ Xin spoke quickly and then leapt out of the carriage like a frightened rabbit. ‘You can go find Liu Shishi.’ They would return to the palace in the evening, but they had some small errands to run here.
Xiao Yixuan and Ye Ying hurried up to follow Situ Xin. There was no way that they would let her roam around in the city carelessly, especially after she had gotten kidnapped yesterday. Situ Xin spotted a restaurant with a crowd around it. There were banging drums and gongs so something clearly was going on.
Situ Xin tapped the man in front of her and asked ‘Big brother, what’s going on?’
‘Sister, you’re not from around here right? Today Xu Mingzhu, the richest woman in Yangzhou is trying to find her husband. She will through an embroidered ball and whoever catches it will marry her.’
The words ‘richest woman’ kept on buzzing around in Situ Xin’s head. Xiao Yixuan and Ye Ying caught up to her and wondered what was going on in this heated atmosphere.
A masked woman in a red wedding dress walked out of the restaurant. Everybody’s eyes were drawn to the embroidered ball in her hand. She should be the rich woman, Xu Mingzhu.
Xu Mingzhu examined all the faces of the people around her and excited voices kept on calling out to her. ‘Miss Xu, throw this way’ or ‘Miss Xu, this way, I will treat you well.’ Her gaze rested on Xiao Yixuan with his mouth pursed slightly. Xu Mingzhu threw the ball in his direction.
As the ball fell towards Xiao Yixuan, Situ Xin jumped up and tapped the ball in another direction. With this, the other people began to tap the ball in different directions. Xu Mingzhu glared at Situ Xin who had started this and the embroidered ball flew up into the air again.
After a few tosses and turns, Situ Xin felt a little bored so she called to Ye Ying ‘Brother Ye! Look over here’ and pushed the ball in his direction.
Ye Ying heard Situ Xin called, so he turned around and reflexively caught the ball. There was a celebratory cheer from the crowd around him and then Ye Ying was awkwardly pushed by the crowd into the restaurant.
Xiao Yixuan followed closely behind with a black face. He looked at Situ Xin, only to see her poking her tongue out cheekily. She followed Ye Ying into the room, only to see Madam Xu a slightly fat woman around fifty years old wearing expensive clothes. Behind her, walked out Xu Mingzhu in a red wedding dress, being supported by a maid.
‘Congratulations.’ Madam Xu looked happily at Ye Ying’s shoulder. Although the man behind him was a little more outstanding, it was not difficult to see from his clothing and temperament that he was excellent as well. Compared the other peasants that could’ve caught the ball, this was much better.
Ye Ying who was extremely confused, held the embroidered ball and looked to Xiao Yixuan, questioning what was going on.
‘Madam Xu, I must apologise. I came to Yangzhou to pick up a couple of people. The embroidered ball was an accident.’ Xiao Yixuan smiled apologetically at the Xu family and glared at Situ Xin who had been extremely excited about the whole situation.
‘Wait no, she’s the riches-‘ Situ Xin who had wanted to speak saw Xiao Yixuan’s sharp glare and paused halfway.
‘You regret marrying Mingzhu.’ Madam Xu asked with a dark face and her maid shivered slightly.
There were screams of surprise and controversy in the crowd, and the mayor stepped out. ‘Sir, Xu Mingzhu is one of the most charitable people in our city. If you do not handle this well, the people of our city will not let you go. It is easy for you to take back your word, but what about Xu Mingzhu’s life. She will have the title of abandoned wife for the rest of her life.’
The people around them began to boo and murmur. Situ Xin realised what situation she had put them in. When she had tossed the ball over to Ye Ying, she hadn’t been thinking too much. She thought that getting married to the richest woman would mean that he had a good future. Right now he only earned a couple silvers a month, right?’
Ye Ying stood up solemnly and generously said ‘I’m willing to marry…’
However, he was interrupted before he even finished talking.
‘Madam Xu, Miss Xu, I am Xiao Wangye and this is my guard Ye Ying. He has a fiancé back at our hometown and he was going to marry his bride when he returned. My wife has been mischevious regarding the embroidered ball, and I apologise on her behalf.’ Xiao Yixuan grabbed Situ Xin’s hand, ignoring her sour expression.
There were murmurs among the crowd and a couple gasps of surprise.
‘You are…’ the mayor stared at Xiao Yixuan with a look of horror and sudden realisation.
‘Wangye Xiao Yixuan. This is my wife and my guard is the one that caught the embroidered ball. The Emperor will give and official account of this misunderstanding so that Miss Xu will still be able to have a good marriage.’
Madam Xu nodded helplessly, she knew that this was the best way to go. Just as she was going to agree to it, her daughter spoke in a clear voice. ‘Wangye, since big brother Ye refuses to marry me and you must trouble the emperor to give me an account, I have a better idea. Simply, you can marry me.’ Xu Mingzhu took of her mask and it could easily be seen that she was a beauty.
Situ Xin’s brow furrowed. Not because of what had just happened, but her wrist was hurting. She had no idea why Xiao Yixuan was so angrily grasping her wrist. When she tried to withdraw her hand, he tightened his grasp.
Xu Mingzhu’s marriage proposal was sudden, but Situ Xin had seen from outside the restaurant that she had been interested in Xiao Yixuan from the moment she saw him. She thought that it was a fair enough match, the words ‘richest woman’ kept on echoing in her mind, but he clearly did not appreciate it.
‘I’m sorry Miss Xu, but this Wangye only has one woman in his heart. I will keep my promise and give you an account.’
After saying this, the group of three quickly withdrew from the restaurant, all with their own thoughts and left Yangzhou.