(Alternative Chapter Name: Cherishing One Another, the Gentleman’s Heart is like Water)
T/NSo I found another phrase that is usually used to describe two hearts in tandem, “我心向水，君心似水”. Literally, this phrase describes a person who admires 'water', and then describes another person as 'water'; resulting in = one's admiration for that person. Some variations use 【郎 - láng】, which generally refers to the same thing as 【君 - jūn】(gentleman, youth, man etc). So the alternative chapter name is the direct translation, the one I used for the title is what I think it intends to portray.
The faces of the matchmakers immediately turned bloodless.
Both of them kept exchanging glances with each other, until finally, one of them nudged the other woman with her elbow. As a result, the other matchmaker, gritted her teeth and began to speak, “Madam Yun said that Ju Mu’er had personally agreed to this offer of marriage. We are merely servants who have been employed to complete this task for others, and we have not done anything out of line.” They too were afraid of inciting any negative backlash from this, and hurriedly tried to cut their ties from the ‘true perpetrators’.
“I didn’t!” Ju Mu’er replied, the hands by her sides slowly forming tight fists as she continued, “I didn’t promise her anything.”
“But didn’t Madam Yun personally visit you to offer marriage to Lord Yun on his behalf, and then Young Lady you agreed to the offer? If it wasn’t for this then Lord Yun and Madam would have never dared to brazenly make arrangements like this ah~” The matchmaker replied cautiously as she kept an eye on Long Er.
Ju Mu’er clamped her teeth together with force, before replying, “She did visit us before, but I didn’t agree to it.”
Old Father Ju also added, “Lord Yun also came to visit a few days ago, but at the time Mu’er was recuperating from her injuries, so I did not allow them to meet ah~ He also didn’t say anything at the time… How did this mess happen?”
The matchmaker seemed like she wanted to argue some more, but with one sweep of Long Er’s gaze, she forcibly swallowed her words. Long Er calmly spoke, “It doesn’t matter who came, regardless of whether or not Mu’er had agreed to it at the time, why didn’t it occur to you, whether or not I would allow such a thing to happen?”
The two matchmakers instantly hung their heads, not daring to vocalize a single sound.
Long Er continued, “Isn’t it merely Lord Yun Qingxian, Director of Justice? Who is his father-in-law? Oh, it’s Minister Ding, Lord Ding… Who else is in that giant pile of officials-who-are-relatives-and-also-from-the-same-faction? Minister Ding’s father-in-law, the former Grand Secretariat-Lord Yang? I seem to recall there’s also Censor Liu, Assistant Minister Zuo, and Transmission Official Sima…”
Long Er’s tone grew icy cold as he continued, “I can probably list about 20 more names, but I think they’ll all go over your head.”
The two matchmakers began to tremble even more obviously, their heads angling further towards the ground.
“The only thing is...:” Long Er continued, “Even with all these respected ministers and officials, if this matter were to be brought to the Emperor himself, I would definitely make it a point to argue this: Mu’er and I have feelings for one another, we both personally agreed to spend the rest of our lives together (marry), elders from each side have already discussed the marriage in detail, spending a great deal of time and energy over it, so how in the heaven’s name can the Yun Family do such a shameless, scandalous thing like cheating someone into marriage and stealing someone’s marriage?”
The offence he described was of extreme severity, and one of the matchmakers instinctively tried to argue, but all she did was open and close her mouth again, without uttering a single word.
Long Er patted the back of Mu’er’s hand, comforting her, “Mu’er, those matchmakers tell me that you initially agreed to that Madam Yun’s proposal? That you were willing to be married to her husband as his concubine? As for me, I still need to say this, I have already personally bound you in betrothal to me, and I intend for you to be married into the Long Family, as my legal and main wife. Since both sides seem to have their own excuses, why don’t you take this opportunity here in front of everyone and tell us once and for all, who do you wish to be married to?”
The matchmakers reacted instantly, lifting their heads to look at Ju Mu’er. This Second Master casually commented that ‘both sides have their excuses’, but truth be told the ‘excuse’ on their part wasn’t even a ‘proper excuse’, so who would dare to speak up at this time? Not to mention, he made it sound so unappealing, one was an offer to be a concubine, the other was an offer to be the main, legal wife, this was obviously a snide jab at them. As for Ju Mu’er’s response, well, the matchmakers were well aware of what she would choose.
And unsurprisingly, Ju Mu’er replied, “I-I, I want to be married to Second Master.”
Long Er replied, “You’re voice is so soft, these matchmakers are quite hard of hearing, they might not be able to hear you clearly, can’t you speak a bit louder?”
Ju Mu’er bit her lip in agitation, instinctively leaned towards Long Er and repeated her words at a louder volume, “I want to be married to Second Master.”
Satisfied, Long Er nodded his head, then asked the two matchmakers, “Did you hear that clearly?”
“We heard it, we heard it!” The matchmakers obediently replied.
“Alright then, this way, there shouldn’t be any more misunderstandings of my Mu’er agreeing to the Yun Family’s marriage proposal right?”
“There won’t be anymore, there won’t be!”
“Excellent.” Long Er nodded. Then, he turned to look at the assortment of boxes all wrapped in red cloth that were piled up on the table, he asked Old Father Ju, “They brought these with them?”
Old Father Ju confirmed his guess.
Long Er continued to ask, “Is everything here?”
Again, Old Father Ju confirmed this.
Long Er waved his hand dismissively, “Throw them all out, destroy it all.”
Old Father Ju was shocked to hear his, was he the one who was supposed to destroy those things? Before he could react, those guards from the Long Residence had already stepped forward, lifted those things from the table, and as soon as they stepped out, the bang and crash of things being thrown to the ground could be heard.
Old Father Ju scratched his head at this, his first reaction was that all of this was a great waste, his next thought was since they’re in charge of smashing those things, would they also take charge of cleaning up the mess? They must know that the cleanliness of the storefront is extremely important!
Long Er had no idea about Old Father Ju’s wandering thoughts, he was busy enjoying the strong feelings of immense pleasure at the sound of all those things being thrown around.
With a slight smile, he turned to coldly stare at the matchmakers again, then swept his gaze over the manservants who had been brought along. Then, he sedately shook out his sleeves, and carefully enunciated, “Then I assume this matter has been settled, all of you may return to the Yun Residence and report to your masters.”
The matchmakers’ expressions were still bloodless, and could only nod their heads in reply.
Long Er added, “However, I do have something to say, and I’d like to trouble you all to help me convey this message.” He surveyed the faces before him, he saw that they were all listening attentively, and smiled, “I’d like to trouble you to share this message with all the matchmakers of this city, that Young Lady Mu’er of the Ju Family Winery by the Southern side of the city, has been betrothed to me, she is the person I acknowledge as my wife-to-be, and will be the Second Madam of the Long Residence. If anyone ever has the guts to send these kinds of things again, and help another family ask for her in marriage, I, Long Er, vow to make it impossible for her! If they no longer want to stay in this city, then they’re welcome to try.”
The minute he finished speaking, the two matchmakers fell to their knees “pu-tong”, begging for mercy as they kowtowed earnestly. They nervously explained that this was all the doing of Madam Yun, that she had directed them to come here. She was also the one who had told them to carefully prepare everything needed for the Three Letter and Six Etiquettes. She had explained that Young Lady Ju had already agreed to the marriage proposal, that Lord Yun was also aware of it, and had even prepared some money to reward them with later. Initially, the plan was to have everything prepared before the New Year, and as soon as the year passed they would exchange the betrothal gifts. However, recently, word was out on the streets that the Long Residence also intended to exchange betrothal gifts. To this, Madam Yun had merely said that no matter what, they had to make sure that this marriage was confirmed. They had taken the money for this really early on, plus they didn’t dare to incur the wrath of the Yun Family, that’s why they had come up with this plan of trying to exchange the betrothal gifts before anyone else could, mainly because once the betrothal gifts were accepted then it automatically meant that that family would be the one to whom the bride would be married to. They pleaded that this was merely a culmination of a moment’s weakness, and that they would never dare to do anything like this in the future.
Their speech was garbled and unclear as they begged, but Long Er had long since lost his interest and patience in listening to them. He dismissed them with a wave of his hand, a final word falling from his lips, “Begone!”
The matchmakers instantly fell silent, exchanged a glance then hastily escaped with the other manservants.
Finally, Old Father Ju let out a sigh of relief. With a smile on his face, he planned on thanking Long Er for his help, but just as he stepped in his direction, he saw LongEr turn to Ju Mu’er and he said, “Follow me.”
Ju Mu’er didn’t dare to refuse and meekly allowed Long Er to hold her hand as he led her deeper into the anterior courtyard.
At present, her feelings were a right mess, on the one hand, she was glad that Long Er had swiftly dealt with this chaos, but on the other hand, she was now worried that there would be a change to the plans of her and Long Er’s marriage. The reason of course bein that now, Long Er most likely was fully aware of the true circumstances that had forced her into seeking his protection through marriage to him.
If she were him, she would be bursting at the seams with anger. Afterall, she was making use of him. She was forcing his hand into marrying her, all because she needed a backing of great power and strength. A husband whose family’s status was on par with the Yun Residence and could hold its own against them. In her attempt to achieve her goal, she had even tried to use Shopkeeper Lu’s experience as leverage to threaten him.
Ju Mu’er felt that her actions were truly despicable, even if he did rebuke her for them now, and tell her that he no longer wanted to marry her, plus end up calling off the wedding, she would not say a single word against it. She honestly felt like she had no right to ask him for anything else anymore.
Long Er maintained his grip on her as he led her back to her room. After they entered, he sat down but did not say anything. Ju Mu’er remained on her feet, beside him, and she too, did not say anything. After a good moment’s pause, Long Er finally spoke, he merely asked Ju Mu’er to pour him a cup of tea.
This was Ju Mu’er’s room, so she was very familiar with the layout of everything. Without any of the complaints from the previous time, and also without any of the teasing or joking of the last time, she silently poured a cup of tea for Long Er.
Long Er picked the cup up, and slowly drank from it. He saw how nervous Ju Mu’er looked beside him, yet he merely asked for another cup of tea. Ju Mu’er felt around for the cup, then proceeded to pour him another cup.
This time, Long Er didn’t drink from it, but he asked her, “Why aren’t you asking me if it’s delicious to drink?”
Ju Mu’er blinked in response, then asked, “Second Master, is the tea delicious to drink?”
Ju Mu’er blinked again, she could feel her eyes beginning to water. Truly, he really was such a nice person ah~.
“Second Master, shall I massage your shoulders for you?”
“Well sure!” Long Er quickly replied, pulling her hands towards him, and placing them onto his own shoulders.
Ju Mu’er massaged him in earnest, and after a while, she even proceeded to squeeze his shoulders. His shoulders and back were extremely well-built, and it was quite a challenge to squeeze and rub into his muscles. As she painstakingly massaged him, Ju Mu’er felt a sense of unspeakable sadness inside her. Half of her spurned herself, while the other half still yearned to be able to be married to him. She truly did desire to gain his protection.
That day, when she had gathered up the courage to ask for marriage, it was all because she had been blessed with such an opportune moment. She had even thought that even the Heavens must be on her side, otherwise why would such a thing have happened at such a time? Not to mention that it gave her more than a reason for it, but also a bargaining chip. Thus, without much trouble, he soon became a candidate to be her husband. He had a personality that was a little odious, and he did enjoy getting even with people, but for some reason, her trust in him was strong.
She had this instinctive feeling that not only he would never hurt her, which he soon proved, but after this period of spending time with each other, she also knew that he was capable of protecting her, even more so, that he was willing to do so.
Perhaps she no longer stood a chance, but she really did want to be married to him.
Ju Mu’er fought back the tears in her eyes, perhaps this would be the last time that she would ever get to massage his shoulders… She continued to massage them with a renewed vigor.
End of Chapter!!!
Just kidding hahaha
Suddenly, Long Er reacted, and caught hold of her hands. Ju Mu’er really wanted to call out to him, but to her surprise, she found that her throat felt constricted, and she couldn’t say anything.
Then, she heard Long Er ask, “How did she force you?”
Ju Mu’er closed her eyes, and cleared her throat. Finally, when she was able to speak, “She commented about having my father take care of his own health.” As expected, he knew about it all… Ju Mu’er could feel tendrils of regret slowly seeping into her heart.
Everything that he had told the matchmakers just now, they must have just been for show right? He couldn’t possibly still intend on marrying her now right?
Long Er got to his feet, and slowly turned to face her. He carefully examined her face, her expression betrayed how close she was to tears, and he softly added, “Someone bullied you, why didn’t you tell me about it?”
Ju Mu’er was a little dazed by his question, what did he mean by this?
Long Er pulled her into his arms, and repeated what he had just said, “Someone bullied you, why didn’t you tell me about it?”
Ju Mu’er began to tremble, her lip was already between her teeth, it couldn’t be!
Long Er gently caressed her hair, drawing her closer into his embrace, “Mu’er, I would never let anyone ever take advantage or bully you. I promise.”
Ju Mu’er could not hold it in any longer, and she finally gave in, loudly bawling as he held her in his arms.
End of Chapter