Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Enduring the sadness of separating from her son, Qiao Jinniang adjusted her emotions and went to the courtyard where the dharma assembly was held.
After the dharma assembly finished, the Duchess took the divination stick to the abbot of Yuanxi Temple.
The Duchess was a generous donor, so the abbot didn’t dare to take it lightly. He held the divination stick and said, “Congratulations, Duchess, this divination stick forebodes good luck. All your wishes will come true.”
The Duchess chuckled when she heard it. “That’s good, that’s good.”
The abbot looked up the divination book and transcribed the explanation to this divination stick to the Duchess. “There was once a phoenix playing in the Phoenix Palace. The palace was empty after the phoenix left, and now only the river is still running.
“The flowers and grasses in the palace shade desolate paths, and the aristocrats of the old days have become the bones in the tombs.
“Three mountains are looming in the clouds and the river is divided into two streams by egret island.
“Those clouds always blot out the brilliance of the sun, so when I climb high, I can’t see Chang’an City anymore, which makes me sad and depressed.”
“Duchess, although this divination stick forebodes good luck, there are also tribulations in the good luck. Once the tribulations are transcended, your daughter will surely dispel the clouds and see the sun, and then the phoenix will be hovering over Chang’an City.”
Hearing his words, the Duchess’s heart skipped a beat.
Phoenix? Chang’an? At this time when the Crown Prince was going to choose his crown princess, others might be overjoyed to draw this divination stick, but the Duchess wasn’t so happy about it.
At this moment, Qiao Jinniang walked to the Duchess and said, “Mother.”
The Duchess smiled at Qiao Jinniang and said, “I’ve drawn a divination stick for you, and it’s a very good one. It seems that the Buddha has blessed you to find a good husband.”
Qiao Jinniang was surprised to see the word “phoenix” in the explanation of the divination stick, wondering if the Yuanxi Temple was trying to fawn on the Duchess.
Knowing that the Crown Prince was going to choose his crown princess, they thought that the Duchess came for Qiao Ruoshui. Did the abbot say this on purpose?
Qiao Jinniang didn’t quite believe in Buddhism in the past, but after God made two jokes with her, she had to believe in fate.
Perhaps what the divination stick was foreboding was true. After all, His Majesty had already told the Duke that he wanted Qiao Ruoshui to marry into the East Palace.
After returning home, the Duchess got down to selecting a suitable fiancé for Qiao Jinniang.
However, Qiao Ruoyi and their cousin sister, Ruofeng, were going to have their coming-of-age ceremonies soon, so the Duke Mansion also had to prepare for their ceremonies.
As the Dragon Boat Festival approached, the people of the Qin Family finally came to Duke Anyuan’s Mansion instead of continuing to pretend not to know Qiao Ruoyun’s real whereabouts.
Faced with so many issues, the Duchess could only temporarily put aside the matter of selecting a fiancé for Qiao Jinniang.
Currently, Qiao Jinniang was embroidering a Dragon Boat Festival sachet for Tuan’er in her room.
In the end, the small sachet looked very exquisite, and she sent the sachet to Duke Rong’s Mansion along with a letter.
Although she said it was for Princess Fu’an, Qiao Jinniang assumed that the people in the Duke Rong’s Mansion would know who to give the sachet to.
In the afternoon, Nuomi came in with mung bean soup, saying, “Miss, today even the old madam of the Qin Family came. I think Miss Ruoyun is going back to the Qin Family.”
With the Duchess and the Dowager Duchess here, even if the old madam of the Qin Family came, it wouldn’t change anything.
The Duchess and the Dowager Duchess would definitely not let Qiao Ruoyun go back to the Qin Family unless they punished that concubine maid, Yuzhui, and promised to treat Qiao Ruoyun well.
Hearing that the Qin Family had left, Qiao Jinniang went to the Duchess.
The Duchess looked sullen. Only when she saw Jinniang come in did she no longer frown.
Qiao Jinniang handed a sachet to the Duchess and said, “Mother, this is a Dragon Boat Festival sachet that I made for you. I’ve made a sachet for you, Father and Grandmother. I hope you like it.”
The Duchess took the sachet and smiled. “Thank you, Jinniang. Is your restaurant going to open tomorrow?”
Qiao Jinniang nodded. “Yes, it’s all ready. If you are free tomorrow, can you go to the Tasty Pavilion with me?”
“Sure, I’m free.” The Duchess held the sachet, feeling very warm in her heart.
“But I’ve just quarreled with the people of the Qin Family, and Ruoyun is still recovering from the miscarriage, so it’s not convenient for me to go to a restaurant for dinner.
“I will write to your aunts and ask them to attend the opening ceremony of your restaurant.”
Qiao Jinniang smiled. “Okay, did the people of the Qin Family refuse to drive Yuzhui out?”
The Duchess sneered and said, “Old Madam Qin said that Yuzhui is her relative, so she must protect Yuzhui. The people of the Qin Family don’t respect us at all!”
Qiao Jinniang said, “Mother, I have an idea. It may be improper, but since we are a family, I want to speak it out even if you blame me.
“I don’t go out frequently, but every time I go out, I will definitely be mocked. Even though our family is powerful and is favored by His Majesty, we can’t do anything to those gossip mongers.
“All because they don’t think that Father would make things difficult for their husbands or fathers just because of their gossip.
“The people of the Qin Family must have heard those gossips, and Old Madam Qin certainly doesn’t want any “stains” on the Qin Family’s reputation.
“If this time, we can’t make them admit their mistake, even if Sister Ruoyun goes back, she would definitely continue to be tortured.
“Judging from Old Madam Qin’s attitude, Sister Ruoyun will definitely have a hard time if she goes back.
“But if she doesn’t go back, the Qin Family won’t care either. They can take the chance to get rid of the “stain” on their family’s reputation, which in their eyes is Sister Ruoyun.”
The Duchess nodded. “Then what do you think we should do, Jin’er?”
Qiao Jinniang said, “The reason why Mrs. Qin did this is for their reputation, so we should fight them back with reputation too.
I have a selfish idea. It will save Sister Ruoyun and me from any embarrassment in the future, but may make things difficult for Mother and Father…”
The Duchess asked, “What is the idea?”
Qiao Jinniang said, “My adoptive father is also surnamed Qiao.
“Why don’t we tell others my adoptive father is Father’s sworn brother?
“People laugh at Sister Ruoyun and I because of my adoptive father’s identity as a servant.
“But if Father acknowledges him as his sworn brother, then Sister Ruoyun is the daughter of a duke’s sworn brother.
“At this point, no one would dare to laugh at her bloodline again, including the people of the Qin Family.”
The Duchess thought for a while before saying, “But your adoptive father is just a cook…”
Qiao Jinniang bowed her head and said, “Mother, the founding emperor of Tang Dynasty also had a sworn brother who was a commoner. After ascending to the throne, he granted his sworn brother to be a duke.
“Even the founding emperor of our country had a commoner as his sworn brother, so it should be fine for Father to do the same.
“If Father does the same, those gossip mongers can no longer laugh at my adoptive parents’ identity.
“And I won’t be ridiculed for being raised by slaves anymore, because I was brought up by Father’s sworn brother.”
The Duchess said, “I need to discuss this matter with your father.”
Lu Chen looked at the letter and the sachet sent by Junior Duke Rong and played with the sachet.
The sachet was very small but was very delicate. It had the same fragrance as those made in previous years.
Lu Chen took it and tied it to his jade belt.
Junior Duke Rong said in a small voice, “Seventh Brother, this sachet seems to be for Tuan’er…”
Lu Chen glanced sideways at Junior Duke Rong. “Only one sachet?”
“Then it’s for me.”
Lu Chen read the letter, which read that “My restaurant will open tomorrow. I can go to the Duke Rong’s Mansion tomorrow afternoon, and I hope to see Tuan’er there.”
Lu Chen said to Junior Duke Rong, “I’ll take Tuan’er to the Duke Rong’s Mansion tomorrow afternoon. Write her back.”
Lost for words, Junior Duke Rong looked at the sachet on Lu Chen’s waist…
No matter how he looked at it, such a small sachet must be made for Tuan’er.
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