Marquis Of Grand Xia Chapter 62: The Man King’s Little Girl Has Grown Up
Ning Chen was stunned. Not only that, he was furious. Yet in the midst of that anger, was a greater sense of helplessness.
Had it been anyone else who did this, he would have left without any hesitation with a wave of his hand, relationship be damned. However, Zhang Sun was the sole exception to that.
When a senior like her took matters into own her hands and arranged for an unwelcome betrothal like this, a junior like him could only throw a tantrum and nothing else.
Even if a senior made a mistake, he/she was still a senior. As long as they thought it was the right choice then it had to be a right choice.
To Zhang Sun, arranging a marriage like this was only to be expected. In fact, Ning Chen didn’t disagree with this either and even felt that this was an inevitability.
Zhang Sun was the only senior he had in this world so his marriage would definitely have to go through her approval.
Yet, no matter what the case, he had hoped that before she made such a decision, she would at least inform him of it. Just because she was his senior, did that mean that she could decide everything for him so arbitrarily?
Zhang Sun’s high-handedness had long since become a habit of hers. Beneath her warm, affable exterior was a dictatorial nature. He naturally knew of this since the beginning and thus he was always afraid of her.
However, it was also this heavy-handedness that allowed her to ignore the wishes of the Xia Emperor and protect him time and time again.
Without a doubt, her autocratic tendencies were peerless in this world. Whatever she thought was right, had to be right. This was the one thing no one in this world could compare to.
Ning Chen didn’t dare to oppose her, thus he endeavored to change Ah Man’s views instead.
Furthermore, he had to act fast before this matter was spread to even more people in the palace. It was still possible to renege on this betrothal, but once it became a widely known fact, it would spell major trouble for him.
While the Man Dynasty wasn’t big, at least in comparison to Grand Xia, it was still an independent kingdom. As the princess of such a kingdom, her prestige was something that took precedence over everything.
Marriage was a mutual agreement between both parties but divorce was a one-sided affair. Someone had to take the hit to their prestige, thankfully, his skin was thick.
Standing in the courtyard, Ning Chen faced off against the palace maid who blocked his path. He wasn’t allowed to enter but this didn’t change the fact that he had to enter.
“I have an important matter to discuss with your Princess, please stand aside.” Ning Chen shifted his hands to the wheels and attempted to barge in.
Seeing that, the palace maid panicked and immediately stepped in front of the teen. “Young Master, you really mustn’t enter.”
“Hong Zhu, let him through.” It was then that a crisp, melodious voice devoid of any impurities echoed from within the room.
“Yes, Princess.” The palace maid bowed towards the figure within the room and then stepped aside, no longer blocking the path of the teen.
Wheeling himself up to the door, he pushed it open with a firm shove and found himself staring at an alluring teenage girl seated besides a table. Lying silently on that table was a bright red bridal gown that the beautiful girl was currently embroidering a peony pattern onto.
“I heard that the women of the Central Plains would sew their own bridal gown before a wedding. That way, they would be blessed with a lifetime of happiness.”
Ah Man addressed the teen without raising her head, her eyes focused intently onto the needle in her hands. She had only picked up this skill recently and still wasn’t too familiar with it.
The beautiful peony was in full bloom, glistening resplendently like a beautiful ruby. From the center of the flower, one could see a trace of moisture leading all the way back to the slightly reddened fingers of the girl. Despite that, the girl continued sewing quietly, not the least bit distracted by the pricking pain.
Ning Chen’s heart ached. He couldn’t bear to harm this innocent girl but his ruthless heart won out in the end. Mustering up his resolve, he said, “Princess, we aren’t suited for each other.”
Ah Man looked up at the teen, her comely face tinged with a hint of shock as she asked, “You do not wish to marry me?”
“Mhm.” His heart sank as he nodded his head. He truly didn’t want to hurt this kind girl but he simply couldn’t lie to her.
She lowered the bridal gown in her hands and stood up. “I’ll speak with my royal father and have the marriage cancelled.” She promptly answered.
It was an answer said in the same crisp, pure voice of hers; devoid of any hesitation, anger or displeasure. It was a simple reply that was delivered in a starkly relaxed tone.
Ning Chen was stunned by her forthrightness. Yet after that surprise, his heart ached even more. He knew, his actions today had hurt a sincere and kind lady.
In his life, he never wanted to owe anyone a favor, yet with Ah Man, he had just accrued a debt that he could never return.
As she stood up and walked out of the room, she briefly paused beside the teen and in a soft voice, said, “In the past, you asked if I truly liked you. Back then, I didn’t know the answer to that question but now I do. I like you.”
She didn’t wish to trouble him. Since he wasn’t willing to, she wouldn’t marry him.
His heart was in pain, a pain so great it robbed him of his voice. Fate, why must you toy with us so?
As the crimson bridal gown took to the air, picked up by the cold breeze of the courtyard, its fluttering fabric brought with it a faint smell of blood as it flew past the teen. The girls of the Man Clan were never one for tailoring, the Man Princess was same as well. Within the Central Plains, how many would actually sew a bridal gown themselves?
The peony blossomed in the wind, cradled by a light breeze as delicate and beautiful as blood.
My love, do you see that for each stitch of the needle, there’s a person that shares your pain.
My love, do you see that for each time the peony blooms, there’s a person waiting for you.
(TL: Depending on the color of the peony, this flower can mean a variety of things.
For the red peony, it represents strong feelings, notably romantic ones in this case. Red peonies have been used to represent the female gender, especially those of high status, though the intention in this case is to represent women in general.
There are a few more meanings attached to the red peony and a variety of others attached to the other types of peonies but they aren’t relevant in this case so I won’t mention them.
These two lines originate from a song called 蜀绣. You can search for it on youtube if you are interested.)
One day, she would find a person that’s willing to share in her pain and wait for her.
However, that person wouldn’t be him. In this lifetime, they weren’t fated to be together. He didn’t ask for her companionship in this life, he merely asks that they do not meet in the next life.
As the door slammed shut behind him, the fluttering gown gently landed on the floor of the now empty room.
In the same day, Ah Man sought an audience with the Man King and requested that their betrothal be voided. The Man King was stunned and a second later, furious. A king’s words were as heavy as a mountain, they didn’t change simply at one’s whims.
However, Ah Man’s determination wasn’t one to be changed so easily either, not even for the Man King.
Looking at his beloved daughter, the Man King finally relented as he heaved a resigned sigh.
Cancelling the marriage still wasn’t possible. While it hadn’t been announced to the world, there were still a few people who knew of it so he couldn’t just slap himself in the face over this. Thus, he promised to delay it instead. Though this one delay was destined to drag on indefinitely.
While he didn’t know what kind of drug that boy fed his daughter in order to make her plead on his behalf time and time again, he still begrudged him for it. In the midst of his anger and displeasure, he thought to himself; he just couldn’t bring himself to like the men of the Central Plains.
Ah Man was the shining pearl of the Man Palace and was deeply respected throughout. Thus, it was only natural that the palace maids who knew of this matter immediately changed their attitude towards Ning Chen and Prince Yan.
With regards to this delay, Prince Yan merely gave the teen a calm look and said nothing more. Since this whole matter had been decided, there was no longer a need for them to stay behind. After writing a simple letter to inform Zhang Sun, the pair prepared to leave the palace.
This time, the Man King had no intention of having them here. Because of Ning Chen, his attitude towards the prince had soured considerably as well.
As they were about to leave, Ning Chen was stopped by Ah Man as he was about to pass through the doorway of the courtyard. In a serious tone, she asked, “Can you bring me to the Central Plains?”
Ning Chen was slightly stunned by that question, but before he could even say a word, Ah Man followed up in a voice that hid a profound sense of sadness: “As a friend…”
At the side, Prince Yan, in an unusual breakaway from his habits, flatly chimed in with a response and made the decision for the teen. Taking a few strides forward, he then made room for the two youngsters to be alone.
Ning Chen sighed lightly and nodded his head. He knew that this time, he no longer had the right to refuse anything.
A plain, unsullied smile cracked across the lips of Ah Man and nothing more.
In the very next second, she took out a bridal gown from her backpack and asked in a soft voice, “The gown is already completed, can I wear it for you just this once?”
This was the last wish she had before they left; from that moment on, they would only be friends.
Ning Chen fell silent at her request. Not rejecting it, he merely stepped to the side and left the room behind him for the girl to use.
A while later, Ah Man stepped out of the room; suddenly it was as if the world had lost all its color except for a bright, arresting shade of red.
Her bridal gown, as brilliantly red as blood and the girl as charming as a flower, never had there been such a perfect match in this world; yet even this beautiful peony wasn’t a match for the arresting smile on the girl’s face.
It was long before Ning Chen turned around to leave. The girl took off the bridal gown and left as well with a smile on her face.
Within the room, the bridal gown laid there quietly on the table. Looking at the lonely gown, a droplet could be found glistening on top of it for a mere second before disappearing without a trace.
In the Northern Plains, the sounds of war horses neighing filled the air as the unending months of snow finally ended. Winter had ended and spring was about to begin, and with it, the battle was also about to begin.
Within the Command tent, sat Fan Lingyue, quietly looking through the mountain of reports laid out before her. On her, was a light blue tunic embroidered with a variety of flower patterns that were simple yet exquisite.
Having been summoned, the young general stepped into the command tent and respectfully awaited his orders.
“When will the Third Prince return to the palace?” Asked the sickly girl without looking up from her reports.
“According to the reports, the Third Prince of Grand Xia would require another two more days, Lady Strategist.”
“Fan Lingyue furrowed her eyebrows at the answer but said nothing more. Even though it was slower than she would like, it was still within expectations.
That Emperor in Grand Xia was old and wouldn’t live for long. Soon, he would require an heir.
With the death of the Eighth Prince, there was no better time for the other princes to return. Even the Third Prince who was dispatched the furthest of the princes, decided to make the long trip back from the southeastern battlefields.
As of now, the Eldest Prince and the Tenth Prince had already returned to the palace. With the return of the Third Prince, all the princes would be accounted for.
“Send someone to assassinate him. But, make sure they fail, no matter what, they mustn’t succeed”
While the command confused the young general slightly, he respectfully accepted the orders without question. Lady Strategist was never wrong, all he had to do was follow her orders.
As the silhouette of the young man disappeared into the distance, a violent cough broke the silence as she finally couldn’t resist the urge to cough several times. A trickle of blood ran down the corners of her mouth, dribbling onto the reports beneath as she violently heaved into her palms.
Looks like time was running out for her body. No matter what, she must finish her work before the time came.
Assassinating the Third Prince was the quickest way to stir up conflict between the three princes. Putting aside the Eldest Prince for now, the Third and Tenth Prince’s relationship had gone past the point of reconciliation since the death of the Eighth Prince. Whether or not the Tenth Prince actually wanted to kill his sibling, this attempt would be attributed to him.
This internal strife was exactly what she was looking for. As long as Grand Xia wasn’t a unified body of steel, there was a multitude of ways she could drive this wedge apart until the point where this thousand year old dominant force began to crumble.
As she thought about that, she couldn’t help but sigh lightly. If only she had ten more years…
Her mind drifted to Ning Chen, that teen who was remarkably similar to her. The outwardly affable but inwardly ruthless teen had not only cheated the entire world, he cheated her as well.
Unfortunately, her attempts at killing him had all ended in failure.
Ever since that incident in the Imperial City, the Empress had strengthened her guard over him to the point of being overbearing. She had even escorted him out of the city personally, rendering the schemes of the Emperor himself, useless.
In Grand Xia, there was no one who could match that Empress’ influence. Even the Emperor’s power was merely at the same level as her. Having produced two military marquis within her clan, the reserves and power of the Zhang Sun Clan wasn’t one that any nobility could ever hope to match.
If the Empress was adamant about protecting a person, it would turn into a headache-inducing problem for those who wanted him dead.
Now that Ning Chen had Prince Yan by his side, trying to kill him was even harder than before.
The reason why she desperately wanted him dead wasn’t because of some grudge between them. It was simply that she didn’t like variables, especially when that variable possessed such a frightening weapon.
She couldn’t be sure whether that substance which blew up Zhenqi Palace could be mass produced or not but it was better to be safe than sorry. No matter what, an out-of-control variable like him mustn’t be allowed to exist in her plan. That was why Ning Chen had to die.
No matter the price, she was going to find a way to wrench that teen away from the protection of Prince Yan…